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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X026108/1
Title: Highly Mucoadhesive Sustainable Patches for Effective Treatment of Oral Lichen Planus
Principal Investigator: Roy, Professor I
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr DA Gregory
Project Partners:
Department: Materials Science and Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2023 Ends: 31 October 2026 Value (£): 471,789
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomaterials Tissue engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Feb 2023 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 8 and 9 February 2023 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Disruptions to the lining of the mouth can be extremely painful (e.g., mouth ulcers). Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a more widespread disease that can affect the lining of the mouth. It is a long-term condition, and whilst there are drugs available to treat it, there is currently no effective way to administer these drugs. The main agents used are steroid based and administered orally. Steroids are well known for side effects and the relatively high doses needed to treat can exacerbate the side effects found. One way to overcome these problems is to deliver the drug directly to the wound. However, because of the wet environment of the mouth and the highly mobile tissue, getting adherence to the mouth lining is a significant challenge. As part of a collaboration, we have obtained proof of concept data for a new highly adhesive polymer system (a family of polymers denoted as Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)) that is produced by bacteria, so is environmentally sustainable and have coupled this with a very simple chemistry (inspired by the polydopamine chemistry that mussel shells use to attach to wet surfaces) to further enhance the adhesiveness of this material that could be developed into a patch for highly effective treatment of OLP lesions. We have shown that the PHA itself is ~ 6.5 times more adhesive than Polycaprolactone (PCL), a frequently used medical polymer and utilising the polydopamine chemistry, we can further improve adhesiveness by 30-40%. The work we aim to undertake in this project is to make the patch as adhesive as possible, by optimising both the PHA polymer and polydopamine chemistry, to give the patch an adhesiveness that will last for up to 24 hours. We will also be developing some innovative processing to build in structures to release the steroid from the patch in a highly controlled way to give therapeutically relevant doses, only towards the mucosa, for the lifetime of the patch. In addition, we will be adding an antifungal agent to the patch to prevent the additional fungal infection that accompanies OLP. To test the development of our new patch system we will use in vitro models to allow rapid screening of materials/drug combinations, and these will be taken forward to test in an ex vivo model using salvaged (obtained as by products) oral mucosa tissue for the model. This will also enable us to reduce the animal testing that would be needed to move this technology towards clinical use. Final in vivo studies will be used to test drug release kinetics and inflammatory response.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk