Development of nanoparticle loaded microneedles for drug delivery to a brain tumour resection site

Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2023 Jan;182:53-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2022.11.016. Epub 2022 Nov 24.


Systemic drug delivery to the central nervous system (CNS) has been historically impeded by the presence of the blood brain barrier rendering many therapies inefficacious to any cancer cells residing within the brain. Therefore, local drug delivery systems are being developed to overcome this shortfall. Here we have manufactured polymeric microneedle (MN) patches, which can be anchored within a resection cavity site following surgical removal of a tumour such as isocitrate dehydrogenase wild type glioblastoma (GBM). These MN patches have been loaded with polymer coated nanoparticles (NPs) containing cannabidiol (CBD) or olaparib (OLA) and applied to an in vitro brain simulant and ex vivo rat brain tissue to assess drug release and distance of penetration. MN patches loaded with methylene blue dye were placed into a cavity of 0.6 % agarose to simulate brain tissue. The results showed that clear channels were generated by the MNs and the dye spread laterally throughout the agarose. When loaded with CBD-NPs, the agarose showed a CBD concentration of 12.5 µg/g at 0.5 cm from the MN insertion site. Furthermore, high performance liquid chromatography of ex vivo brain tissue following CBD-NP/MN patch insertion showed successful delivery of 59.6 µg/g into the brain tissue. Similarly, OLA-NP loaded MN patches showed delivery of 5.2 µg/g OLA into agarose gel at 0.5 cm distance from the insertion site. Orbitrap secondary ion mass spectrometry (OrbiSIMS) analysis confirmed the presence of OLA and the MN patch at up to 6 mm away from the insertion site following its application to a rat brain hemisphere. This data has provided insight into the capabilities and versatility of MN patches for use in local brain drug delivery, giving promise for future research.

Keywords: Isocitrate dehydrogenase wild type glioblastoma; Microneedles; Nanoparticles.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Brain Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Glioblastoma*
  • Nanoparticles* / chemistry
  • Needles
  • Rats
  • Sepharose


  • Sepharose