3D printed reservoir implants for sustained drug delivery

  • Anna Korelidou

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Implantable drug delivery systems are an interesting alternative to conventional drug delivery systems to achieve local or systemic drug delivery. In this work, we investigated the potential of fused-deposition modelling (FDM) to prepare reservoir-type implantable devices for sustained drug delivery that are implanted surgically. Biodegradable rate-controlling porous membranes were prepared by solvent casting method, based on poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and poly(caprolactone) (PCL) and were attached to the 3D printed implants to sustain and control the drug release. Tetracycline Hydrochloride (TCH) delivery devices were designed to deliver antibiotics directly to targeted sites in the body for the treatment or prevention of bacterial infections post-surgery. One of the key findings highlighted in this work is that the drug release rate from these biocompatible implants can be modified by altering the implant design, membrane thickness, membrane porosity, and drug content. Moreover, these 3D-printed implants were applied to the delivery of potential anticancer agents such as Curcumin (CUR) directly to the tumour site. By delivering treatment directly to the site of the solid tumour such as Glioblastoma (GBM), higher concentrations of the chemotherapy agent can be achieved while minimizing exposure to healthy tissues, thus reducing systemic side effects. The manufactured implants employed in this Thesis apply to many drug compounds, such as hydrophilic and hydrophobic. Lastly, we developed and optimized these 3D-printed reservoir-type implants as a combinational therapy for targeted sustained Acriflavine Hydrochloride (ACF) delivery to GBM post-surgery, as ACF has anticancer but also antibacterial properties. Overall, this research highlights the potential of 3D-printed implants as versatile and effective long-term drug delivery systems for localized treatment of tumours and bacterial infections. This thesis contributes to the advancement of sustained drug delivery by introducing novel biocompatible implantable devices. Continued research and innovation in this field are expected to drive further improvements in drug delivery technology and the future of medicine.

Thesis is embargoed until 31 July 2027.
Date of AwardJul 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsCITI-GENS, Horizon 2020
SupervisorEneko Larrañeta (Supervisor) & Andriana Margariti (Supervisor)


  • 3D-printing
  • Implantable devices
  • Curcumin
  • Acriflavine
  • Biodegradable membranes
  • Tetracycline
  • Sustained drug release

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