Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Bradley D. Anderson


Liposomal delivery systems hold considerable promise for improvement of cancer therapy provided that critical formulation design criteria can be met. The main objective of the current project was to enable quality by design in the formulation of liposomal delivery systems by developing comprehensive, mechanism-based mathematical models of drug loading, binding and release kinetics that take into account not only the therapeutic requirement but the physicochemical properties of the drug, the bilayer membrane, and the intraliposomal microenvironment.

Membrane binding of the drug affects both drug loading and release from liposomes. The influence of bilayer composition and phase structure on the partitioning behavior of a model non-polar drug, dexamethasone, and its water soluble prodrug, dexamethasone phosphate, was evaluated. Consequently, a quantitative dependence of the partition coefficient on the free surface area of the bilayer, a property related to acyl chain ordering, was noted.

The efficacy of liposomal formulations is critically dependent on the drug release rates from liposomes. However, various formulation efforts to design optimal release rates are futile without a validated characterization method. The pitfalls of the commonly used dynamic dialysis method for determination of apparent release kinetics from nanoparticles were highlighted along with the experimental and mathematical approaches to overcome them. The value of using mechanism-based models to obtain the actual rate constant for nanoparticle release was demonstrated.

A novel method to improve liposomal loading of poorly soluble ionizable drugs using supersaturated drug solutions was developed using the model drug AR-67 (7-t-butyldimethylsilyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin), a poorly soluble camptothecin analogue. Enhanced loading with a drug to lipid ratio of 0.17 was achieved and the rate and extent of loading was explained by a mathematical model that took into account the chemical equilibria inside and outside the vesicles and the transport kinetics of various permeable species across the lipid bilayer and the dialysis membrane.

Tunable liposomal release kinetics would be highly desirable to meet the varying therapeutic requirements. A large range of liposome release half-lives from 1 hr to 892 hr were obtained by modulation of intraliposomal pH and lipid composition using dexamethasone phosphate as a model ionizable drug. The mathematical models developed were successful in accounting for the change in apparent permeability with change in intraliposomal pH and bilayer free surface area. This work demonstrates the critical role of mechanism-based models in design of liposomal formulations.