Fabrication of drug-loaded ultrafine polymer fibers via solution blowing and their drug release kinetics
49TH SME NORTH AMERICAN MANUFACTURING RESEARCH CONFERENCE (NAMRC 49, 2021), Vol. 53, pp. 128–135.
Biocompatible polymer fibers have garnered significant interest due to their unique properties. Applications range from absorbent media to tissue engineering and drug delivery products. Many manufacturing processes produce such fibers, but a gap exists in highly scalable processes for fibers loaded with thermolabile additives like pharmaceuticals. This study investigates preliminary process-structure-function relationships of solution blown poly(ethylene oxide) fibers loaded with doxycycline, a drug that has demonstrated antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumoral properties. After parameter screening, a factorial experiment mapped the solution blowing design space with a multi-nozzle apparatus. A 1 mm-thick mat was fabricated comprising doxycycline loaded polymer fibers with a mean diameter of 552 ± 200 nm. Study of release kinetics showed the doxycycline released with a significant burst effect over approximately 1 minute. This study highlights solution blowing as a scalable manufacturing platform for fabricating poly(ethylene oxide) fibers loaded with this impactful drug.