Rosebrugh Bldg, Toronto, ON M5S 3G9
Room: RS 211
Post-operative pain remains a clinical challenge as current treatment strategies do not sufficiently address patient needs. Currently, peri-operative regional analgesia is achieved by blocking a nerve through direct injection of analgesic solutions into the surgical site; however, these effects typically do not last longer than 18 hours. These short-term analgesic effects arise because local anesthetics are delivered clinically as a bolus liquid injection, quickly clearing the injury site and dispersing into the surrounding tissue. Local anesthetic doses are thus limited by systemic side effects. The short-lived pain relief of local anesthetics necessitates multiple injections post-surgery or the subsequent use of systemic methods, such as oral opioids. The addictive properties of opioids have given rise to an opioid epidemic, and many patients who receive opioids experience opioid-related adverse drug events, such as nausea, vomiting or allergic reactions. There is a clear medical need to improve post-operative pain management and patient quality of life while reducing the risk of opioid addiction. This research proposes to use a novel hyaluronan-methylcellulose hydrogel (HAMC) as a drug delivery vehicle to locally deliver pain medication over an extended period. By distributing particulates of a local anesthetic within HAMC, the hydrogel can be delivered to the local injury site to prevent fast clearance of the drug and reduce systemic plasma concentrations. The analgesic-loaded HAMC system will be optimized in vitro and then evaluated in a rat model of sciatic nerve blockade. This work aims to advance local, controlled and sustained drug delivery-based therapies for post-operative pain management.