Dr Timothy Hughes
Senior Principal Research Scientist
Team Leader Polymeric Biomaterials
The advent of therapeutics has revolutionised medicine and significantly improved human health and the quality of life. The most common method of drug delivery is via oral ingestion, but this leads to systemic release potentially causing increased undesired side-effects. In addition, many drugs, particularly peptide-based biomacromolecular ones, are not stable under the acidic condition in the stomach and alternative means of delivery are required. Furthermore, many drugs in development fail in later stage clinical studies due to poor bioavailability at the site of need. One solution to these problems is the use of a drug delivery system that by-passes oral route aiding the localised delivery of therapeutics to the site of need.
Here we present our research at CSIRO on the development of new drug delivery systems designed to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. Ideally such drug delivery systems offer sustained delivery of biologically active therapeutic, are easy to implant and remove, as well possessing high biocompatibility. Firstly, I will talk about drug delivery from an external device, a contact lens. Then I will discuss implantable drug delivery depots and our development of light triggered drug release systems. Ease of implantation and removal is another critical parameter. So, we have developed injectable microparticles systems from biodegradable polyesters. Lastly, I will discuss some of our more recent work developing thermo-reversible systems that are a liquid at room temperature but spontaneously from a gel at body temperature making implantation even easier. I will discuss the chemistries behind these systems and how they were developed.
Dr Timothy (Tim) completed his PhD in synthetic organic chemistry at Monash University in 1997. Following his PhD studies, Dr Hughes was a CSIRO Post Doctorial Fellow developing new ophthalmic implant materials. He has successfully led a series of commercially focused industrial projects covering a wide range of areas including ocular devices, surgical/tissue adhesives, drug delivery systems, cell therapies (cell encapsulation devices), medical imaging contrast agents and polymer 3D printing to deliver scientific impacts and commercial outcomes. He has published over 50 journal papers, and co-inventor on 17 patent families. He has been co-awarded several awards including 2004 Royal Society Award for Interdisciplinary Research (Eureka Award) and 2009, 2012 CSIRO Medals for Research Achievement.