Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Bradley D. Anderson


Advancements in nanoparticle drug delivery of anticancer agents require mathematical models capable of predicting in vivo formulation performance from in vitro characterization studies. Such models must identify and incorporate the physicochemical properties of the therapeutic agent and nanoparticle driving in vivo drug release. This work identifies these factors for two nanoparticle formulations of anticancer agents using an approach which develops mechanistic mathematical models in conjunction with experimental studies.

A non-sink ultrafiltration method was developed to monitor liposomal release kinetics of the anticancer agent topotecan. Mathematical modeling allowed simultaneous determination of drug permeability and interfacial binding to the bilayer from release data. This method also quantified the effects of topotecan dimerization and surface potential on total amount of drug released from these liposomal formulations. The pH-sensitive release of topotecan from unilamellar vesicles was subsequently evaluated with this method. A mechanistic model identified three permeable species in which the zwitterionic lactone form of topotecan was the most permeable. Ring-closing kinetics of topotecan from its carboxylate to lactone form were found to be rate-limiting for topotecan drug release in the neutral pH region.

Models were also developed to non-invasively analyze release kinetics of actively-loaded liposomal formulations of topotecan in vivo. The fluorescence excitation spectra of released topotecan were used to observe release kinetics in aqueous solution and human plasma. Simulations of the intravesicular pH in the various release media indicated accelerated release in plasma was a consequence of increased intravesicular pH due to ammonia levels in the plasma instead of alterations in bilayer integrity. Further studies were performed to understand the roles of dimerization, ion-pairing, and precipitation on loading and release kinetics obtained from actively-loaded topotecan.

Extension of this type of modeling for other types of nanoparticles was illustrated with doxorubicin-conjugated polymeric micelles. Mathematical modeling of experimental studies monitoring doxorubicin release identified conjugation stability during storage, hydrazone hydrolysis kinetics, and unconjugated doxorubicin partitioning affected micellar doxorubicin release. This work identifies several of the key parameters governing drug release from these liposomal and micellar nanoparticles and lays the framework for future development of in vivo release models for these formulations.