20 Scientific Session Descriptions

This year's 20 scientific sessions were created based on abstracts submitted to the 10 “core areas” of the Controlled Release Society. Each session will include two Invited Speakers, five Research Highlight Talks, and a Moderated Discussion with All Speakers.

1) Delivery of Peptides and Proteins

Pharmaceutical and biotechnology developments continue to develop new therapeutically useful peptides and proteins. Unfortunately, their effective use in patient care is limited by their robustness when confronted with the biological milieu. Getting these proteins and peptides into the patient conveniently and ensuring they reach their target site intact remain key challenges for those of us focused on controlled release and drug delivery. This session will present recent advances in how we can effectively formulate and deliver proteins and peptides, and we will discuss new avenues for researchers to explore in the development of effective protein and peptide delivery systems.

2) Delivery Science in Cosmetics, Personal Care, and Household Products

This session covers all aspects of controlled release in personal and home care areas. Examples are cosmetics, cosmeceuticals, skincare, fragrances, deodorants and antiperspirants, hair care, mouth care, air fresheners, cleaning and sanitizing agents, and insect/pest/mold control agents and devices. This core area seeks to promote progress and applications across this diverse range of products, with particular emphasis on the research and manufacturing activities ongoing in the relevant industries.

3) Delivery of Vaccines

Vaccines are a key tool in global public health and protect us from a range of diseases. Yet we need vaccines for diseases old and new. Within this session, we will explore the recent developments in vaccines and the challenges faced in developing vaccines from both the academic and industrial sectors. The session will explore new understanding in the development of vaccines, and within the session we will consider if we are seeing a paradigm shift in the development of new and effective vaccines. Be sure to join us for this exciting session.

4) Drug Delivery in Tissue Engineering

Controlled delivery technology is playing an increasingly important role in the field of tissue engineering, both in vitro and in vivo. Soluble molecules or molecules tethered to the surface of a polymeric scaffold or released from the scaffold matrix can provide important cues to help guide the development of appropriate tissues. Nucleic acids are increasingly being delivered in the context of tissue engineering as well. Finally, scaffolds play a critical role in “delivering cells,” including stem cells, to the body in a manner that maximizes the chances of successful development of functional new tissues. This session will focus on recent advances in the area of delivery science and new polymeric biomaterials designed for controlled drug release as they relate to regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.​

5) Drug Delivery to the Brain

This session covers strategies to overcome the blood-brain barrier to treat brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, and degenerative disease, several of which involve image-guided delivery approaches. Invited speakers include Pieter Gaillard, presenting on blood-brain barrier models and a proprietary liposomal brain delivery technology, and Mark Saltzman of Yale University, presenting work on nanoparticles to treat glioblastoma.

6) Encapsulation for Industrial Applications

This session focuses on advances in encapsulation and controlled release products in agrochemicals, agriculture, aquaculture, textiles, and other industrial applications. Topic areas include, but are not limited to, more efficient biomass production for biofuels, genetic engineering (release of genetically engineered materials, enhancing organisms), anticorrosive and/or antifouling coatings (e.g., fish farms or offshore installations), self-healing coatings and materials (e.g., textiles), water storage systems, technologies for high-rise systems (fertilizing, light control), and more traditional areas involving controlled release of nutrients, vaccines, fertilizers, and pesticides.

7) Formulating Oral Solid Dosage Forms to Enhance Drug Delivery

With so many licensed products available for oral drug delivery, one may wonder what new challenges are left to tackle and what new advances are left to discover. However, drug discovery always presents new challenges for controlled release. In particular, we are seeing drugs with low solubility and complex stability needs coming forward for us to formulate. Within this session we will hear how these new challenges are being tackled, and within our discussion we will consider what formulation strategies we should be considering for controlled release via the oral route. This session will certainly enlighten and engage the audience.

8) In Vivo Nucleic Acid Delivery

The promise of nucleic acid-based therapies is enormous, but delivery challenges have greatly limited the realization of this potential. This session encompasses both fundamental and applied aspects of nucleic acid delivery, with a particular emphasis on in vivo applications. These include efficient nucleic acid delivery to the brain and lungs as well as for cancer therapy.

9) Manufacture, Characterization, Measurement, and Stability

The reliable manufacture, stability, and performance of controlled release products are key to commercial success. This CRS core area covers the technology development through scale-up of commercially viable processes and methods to prepare and characterize products designed for controlled release of active materials. Some examples of process technologies include spray-drying, hot-melt extrusion, co-precipitation, supercritical fluid technology, fluid bed coating, complex coacervation, 3D printing, inkjet printing, electrospinning, microfluidics, powder layering techniques, high-shear granulation techniques, membrane processes, and emulsion-based processes. The use of quality-by-design (QbD) concepts, analytical technologies for process end-point and real-time monitoring of preparation processes, imaging methods, and other approaches to ensure commercial viability are also critical to this core area. This core area brings together professionals from small and large pharma, consumer and diversified products industries, human and animal health industries, CROs/CMOs, excipient companies, and academia. Submissions are sought that advance fundamental knowledge in this core area including 1) novel formulations, technologies, excipients, or strategies; 2) analytical or processing innovations; 3) innovative in vitro, ex vivo, and animal model development; 4) imaging technologies; 5) scientific investigations of established technologies, including troubleshooting and QbD case studies; or 6) scale-up, regulatory, safety, and cost considerations.

10) Modulated and Responsive Delivery Systems

Much research has focused on the development of delivery systems that can offer sustained zero-order drug release profiles. However, designing systems that can release drugs to meet the physiological needs of a patient remains a challenging yet exciting goal. To achieve this goal, we have a range of options including systems that respond to externally generated signals and those that are self-modulated. Within this session, we will explore how we can fabricate new delivery systems that can give us responsive controlled release.

11) Nanocarriers for Combined Delivery

The ability to co-deliver drugs to give a synergistic action offers new potential to overcome a range of therapeutic challenges including drug resistance and toxicity. Within this session, we will explore how nano-delivery systems can be designed and optimized to provide combined multi-drug delivery and targeting. We will discuss the challenge of designing a delivery system that not only offers the ability to co-deliver but also gives optimized co-release strategies. The aim of this session is to consider how we can develop controlled release multi-modal therapies that improve patient care.

12) Nano-Sized Carriers for Small-Molecule Oncology Drugs

Nanotechnology continues to offer new opportunities to enhance our ability to get therapeutic agents to the right place at the right time; however, progress to develop our laboratory ideas into clinical products remains slow. This session will explore both new systems being developed and also modifications to previously designed systems. Working together, we can translate our research in the field into clinically approved products.

13) Nanosystems for Non-Oncology Drug Delivery

While the majority of nano-sized delivery systems have to date centered on anticancer medicines, there is ample scope for nanosystems to be explored for improving safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics of many drug classes in use for other diseases. This involves exploring routes of administration, patient compliance aspects, and reducing side effects for drugs used to treat inflammation, viral and bacterial infections, bone diseases, CNS diseases, and diabetes. The aim of this session is to discuss broadening the applications of existing nano-delivery technologies to benefit other diseases than cancer and to generate data that will lead to clinical trials.

14) Ocular Drug Delivery

This session includes presentations on formulations and delivery systems, such as a port delivery system implant and a shear-responsive topical hydrogel, for both the anterior and posterior segments of the eye. Invited speakers include Eugene de Juan of University of California, San Francisco, presenting on drug delivery for age-related macular degeneration, and Francine Behar-Cohen of the Cordelier Research Center, presenting on delivery systems for retinal diseases more generally.

15) Oral Delivery for Food

Bioactives with therapeutic potential are increasingly being discovered as components of food. Food-grade excipients are needed to orally deliver these labile molecules in either functional foods or nutraceuticals. In addition, new bioactives originally located in foods can be purified and formulated in traditional oral pharmaceutical delivery systems with potential as new medicines. Finally, food-derived components can be used as core components of new oral delivery systems, for example, as polymers in nanoparticles to deliver biotech molecules. This session will explore many of these aspects and will accentuate the links between controlled release technologies for the food and pharma industries.

16) Oral Drug Delivery  

Oral drug delivery is the main delivery route for small molecules and is the Holy Grail for most large ones. In this session, an invited speaker explores the unique technical aspects and formulation strategies of making fixed-dose combination products, which involve extensive use of biostatistics and pharmacokinetics to limit the clinical studies that could otherwise be required. Controlled release technology has moved on from traditional matrix tablets to borrow from the electronics and engineering industries. Such technologies include 3D-printing, which is addressed by the second invited speaker. Other talks selected for the session will cover the important areas of medicinal chemistry in making prodrugs designed to be lipophilic enough to reach the lymphatics, polymeric nanoparticles to aid delivery of relatively insoluble molecules, a microfluidic system ultimately designed to examine uptake of drug-loaded particles by M-like cells in the intestine, and the highly successful area of gastroretentive systems for drugs designed to be absorbed in the upper small intestine.

17) Parenteral Delivery Technologies

This CRS core area is concerned with the research, development, and commercialization of parenteral sustained release delivery systems. Key stakeholders from small to large pharma, drug delivery CROs/CMOs, excipient companies, and academia are involved in this area. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to 1) novel materials, dosage forms/devices, processes, or development strategies; 2) fundamental understanding of established technology, including modeling and characterization; and 3) industrial product development case studies, including regulatory aspects. Methods for, and examples of, discovery-to-development transitions and bench- to full-scale commercial manufacture are within the scope of this core area.

 18) Respiratory Drug Delivery

This session covers novel formulations for the treatment of lung disease, including explorations of their pharmacokinetics and transport. Invited speakers include Ralph Niven of Novartis, presenting on successes and failures in aerosolized formulations of biomolecules, and Sevda Senel of Hacettepe University, Turkey, presenting recent work on nanosystems for mucosal delivery.

19) siRNA and mRNA Delivery  

The promise of nucleic acid-based therapies is enormous, but delivery challenges have greatly limited the realization of this potential. This session encompasses both fundamental and applied aspects of RNA delivery, including the design and synthesis of carriers, their characterization, intracellular delivery and trafficking, and all aspects of product development with this unique class of agents.

20) Transdermal Delivery

There continue to be significant advances in fundamental and applied research related to transdermal delivery and product development for both small and macromolecules. There is exciting progress in novel delivery systems, engineering and formulations, including patch technologies, microneedles, and other devices, as well as advanced analytical assessments of these systems. This scientific session will cover these topics as we explore new insights into permeation pathways, proof-of-concept studies in preclinical and clinical settings, novel materials/excipients, and physical methods that facilitate transdermal delivery.

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