The Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry occupies space in the College of Pharmacy, Biomedical Polymers Research Building, and the new Skaggs Pharmacy Institute. These centers are all proximal to the Health Sciences Center and Health Sciences Library. In addition, the Biomedical Polymers Research Building houses the Center for Controlled Chemical Delivery. All department space is well equipped for graduate research containing facilities for chemical synthesis, molecular biology, protein chemistry, cell culture, and small animal surgery. The Department also possesses multiple cold rooms, darkrooms, modern computing facilities, several shared instrument rooms, offices, and conference rooms.
Instrumentation available within the department includes: chromatography (HPLC, CE, FPLC, GLC); spectrometers (UV/VIS, UV/VIS/NIR, fluorescence, FTIR); calorimetry; scintillation counters; quasi-elastic light scattering; lyophilization; and confocal microscopy. Researchers have ready access to NMR mass spectrometry services including MALDI, GC/MS and LC/MS within the University Core Facilities plus SEM, EM, XPS, SPR, and scanning force microscopy services.
The Center for Controlled Chemical Delivery (CCCD) was established at the University of Utah in 1986 as a State of Utah Centers of Excellence Program. CCCD is currently located in a 9,000 sq. ft. laboratory in the Biomedical Polymers Research Building.
CCCD consists of faculty from the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry as core members and selected outside researchers. As an extension of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, CCCD maintains a strong graduate training program and has attained a leading position in worldwide pharmaceutical, polymer, and biomedical research. CCCD receives funding from the State of Utah, industry sponsored contracts, and grants from the National Institutes of Health. Through decades of research success, CCCD has gained a leading position in the field of biomedical polymer controlled drug delivery and blood contacting devices.
CCCD is well equipped with modern scientific instruments and facilities. A central research theme is the development and application of new and useful polymeric materials in medicine.
New biodegradable polymers, bioadhesive polymers, novel hydrogels, and drug targeting systems are currently evaluated for oral drug delivery and as implantable, long-term drug release systems.
Stimuli-sensitive polymers are designed to respond to external conditions, such as temperature, pH, electric fields, and ultraviolet radiation. These polymers will present a new dimension to drug delivery systems as they can react to external or physiologically imposed signals to provide controlled and on-demand drug release.
Polymeric prodrugs and chemically modified drugs are being developed for specific organ targeting and/or long term delivery of therapeutic agents. Targetable drug delivery utilizes a specific targetable moiety e.g., peptide, sugar, and drug molecule, both chemically coupled to a soluble polymer backbone. The targeting moiety allows the delivery system to be aimed directly at a specific cell, tissue or organ. The advantage of such systems is delivery of drug directly to site of action, thereby decreasing dose required and associated side-effects.
The oral delivery of peptide drugs is an active research program at the CCCD. By incorporating stabilizing compounds and carrier polymers, peptide drugs such as insulin may be orally administered,without compromising efficacy but increasing patient compliance. In addition, investigations are underway on colonic delivery of peptides based on enzymatic degradation of polymeric drug delivery systems whereby proteins and/or macromolecules are precisely released in the colon.
Design of polymeric gene carriers and delivery systems for cellular targeting of therapeutic genes. Other research activities have been established and maintained by long term NIH research support. These programs include insulin modification, islet encapsulation, osteoporosis targeting, and novel cardiovascular therapies.