New core/shell fiber structures loaded with paclitaxel were developed and studied. These composite fibers are ideal for forming thin, delicate, biomedically important structures for various applications. Possible applications include fiber-based endovascular stents that mechanically support blood vessels while delivering drugs for preventing restenosis directly to the blood vesel wall, or drug delivery systems for treatment of cancer. The core/shell fiber structures were formed by "coating" dense core fibers with porous paclitaxel-containing poly(DL-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PDLGA) structures. Shell preparation ("coating") was performed by freeze-drying water in oil emulsions. The present study focused on the effects of the emulsion's formulation (composition) and processing conditions on the paclitaxel release profile and on the fibers' tensile mechanical properties. In general, the porous PDLGA shell released ∼40% of the paclitaxel, with most of the release occurring during the first 30 days. The main release mechanism during the tested period is diffusion, rather than polymer degradation. The release rate and quantity increased with increased drug content or decreased polymer content, whereas the organic:aqueous phase ratio had practically no effect on the release profile. These new composite fibers are strong and flexible enough to be used as basic elements for stents. We demonstrated that proper selection of processing conditions based on kinetic and thermodynamic considerations can yield polymer/drug systems with the desired drug release behavior and good mechanical properties.
- Composite fibers
- Controlled drug release
- Poly(DL-lactic-co- glycolic acid)
- Porous structure