Implantable devices and drug delivery systems

Mathematical modelling is playing an increasingly important role in the field of medicine through the use of models and simulations. These represent a useful tool to complement theoretical and experimental work and have the potential to inform personalized approaches for treatment. In this Special Interest Group we focus on the development of mathematical models and tools to assist with the design and understanding of implantable devices and drug delivery systems.

Implantable devices are designed to replace, support or enhance a damaged/diseased biological structure. The challenge is to create a biocompatible implant that possesses the required structural and material properties depending on target location in the body. These implants have traditionally been permanent, but a new wave of devices has emerged with complex biodegradable properties, opening the door to the development of new mathematical models and tools.

Controlled drug delivery systems have become common in the clinic. These systems combine a platform or carrier with a drug in such a way that the drug is efficiently released to a target tissue or organ, while maintaining the drug concentration within a therapeutic window. Whilst many such devices have achieved successful results clinically, there remain a number of scientific and technological challenges and an opportunity for further fine-tuning and optimization. Addressing these challenges requires a multi-disciplinary approach.

This Special Interest Group was originally named “Advancing the Design of Medical Stents” and was launched at a workshop at the University of Limerick in 2015. In recognition of the fact that stent development shares many challenges and opportunities with other implantable devices and drug delivery systems, the scope of the SIG was widened in 2019 and renamed to “Implantable Devices and Drug Delivery Systems” in 2019.

The challenging problems in this area require an international and interdisciplinary team of mathematicians, engineers, life scientists, clinicians and industry.

The scope of the SIG includes (but is not limited to):

  • Design, testing and optimisation of implantable devices and drug delivery systems
  • Identification of drug release mechanisms
  • Biomaterials, smart polymers and hydrogels
  • Controlled release formulations
  • Clinical and industrial challenges
  • Personalisation and patient-specific modelling
  • Nanoparticles, microspheres, liposomes and quantum dots
  • Antibody therapeutics
  • Pharmacokinetics/Pharmacodynamics (PK/PD)

The aims of this SIG are:

  • To provide a platform to co-ordinate research efforts and help expedite the development of novel implantable devices and drug delivery systems
  • To provide a forum for multidisciplinary interaction between academics, clinicians and industry
  • To utilize our position of strength to leverage funding from bodies such as the European Union

Activities of the group include:

  • Visits of experts
  • Submission of joint funding applications
  • Mini-symposia at ECMI Conferences on Industrial and Applied Mathematics
  • Workshops across Europe

Participation in the group is without formal obligations on the members.

To become a member, please contact Dr Sean McGinty (University of Glasgow, Scotland) or Dr Giuseppe Pontrelli (IAC-CNR, Italy)


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