Hydrogel Microparticles for Targeted Drug Delivery




Drug delivery is the process of administering a pharmaceutical compound to achieve a therapeutic effect. Drug delivery technologies can modify drug release profile, absorption, distribution, and elimination for the benefit of the patient. A current area of drug delivery research relates to targeted delivery models in which drugs are delivered only to specific areas of the body. Targeted drug delivery can treat many diseases, including certain cancers.


Hydrogel-type materials are now on the market for use for various medications administered through the stomach and into the intestine. Some of the features of hydrogels are that they are cross-linked, hydrophilic, three-dimensional polymer networks that are highly permeable to various drug compounds, tolerant to acidic environments, and are able to release entrapped molecules through their matrix surfaces. It would be beneficial to create a bio-compatible hydrogel drug delivery system that provides for target drug delivery.


Description of Technology


Michigan State University’s technology is an implanted drug delivery device comprised of hollow hydrogel nanoparticles. These particles may be fabricated into centimeter-scale implants, and the particle-aspect ratio may vary from spheres to needles. The technology has the ability to load microparticles with a wide range of molecules of different drugs.


The drug delivery microparticles are immobilized at a particular site on or in the patient to deliver a sustained release of drugs to a specific organ or area of malignant tissue, allowing high drug concentrations at the target site and low concentrations elsewhere. While the delivery of many drugs is systemic and affects all of a patient’s tissue, the targeted delivery of drugs through this technology can minimize side effects and improve the drug’s efficacy. Future applications may target arteries that deliver blood or drugs to affected tissue.


Key Benefits

  • Targeted drug delivery: Ability to target only diseased cells, potentially reducing adverse side effects from systemic dosing, and to deliver low to high concentrations of a drug over days or weeks.
  • Implantable: Ability to be implanted on a tumor to sustain and target release.
  • Transport a variety of molecules: Potential to transport different drug molecules that vary in size.
  • Low cost for flexible fabrication: The technology uses a simple process, and microneedles can be manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes at a low cost.



  • Pharmaceutical drug delivery
  • Protein delivery
  • Nerve growth factor delivery


Patent Status


Patent pending




Jeff Sakamoto, Daniel Lynam, Robert Sanders, Christina Chan, Bridget Bednark


Tech ID




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Randy Ramharack
Technology Manager
Michigan State University