Bioceramics : Concepts and Prospects in Drug Delivery

Sanjib Bhattacharya, Bhaskar Mazumder

Abstract: The type of ceramic materials utilized for repair and replacement of diseased and damaged parts of the musculoskeletal system are referred to as bioceramics. The research on drug delivery and targeting systems using bioceramics is an interesting research and development field. Since these ceramics are biocompatible, resorbable and porous, attempts have been made to utilize them as delivery systems for drugs and biologicals in the form of musculoskeletal implants or as targeted drug delivery for therapeutic purposes through other routes. Bioceramic materials including bioceramic nanoparticles i.e. nanobioceramics could be utilized for the delivery of different drugs like antibiotics, antineoplastics, steroids, peptides and protein drugs, radioisotope delivery in cancer treatment and as DNA or gene delivery vehicles. The present review provides a brief overview on bioceramics and summarizes the retrospects and prospects of bioceramics research in drug delivery.

Ceramics can be defined as objects created from such naturally occurring raw materials as clay minerals and quartz sand, by shaping the material and then hardening it by firing at high temperatures to make the object stronger, harder, and less permeable to fluids. Within the last six decades a revolution has occurred in the use of ceramics to improve the quality of life. This revolution is the innovative use of specially designed ceramics for the repair and reconstruction of diseased or damaged parts of the body. Ceramics used for this purpose are termed as bioceramics.

Bioceramics are a class of advanced ceramics which are defined as ceramic products or components used for repair and replacement of diseased and damaged parts of the musculoskeletal system, employed in medical and dental applications, mainly as implants and replacements. They are biocompatible, and can be inert, bioactive and degradable in physiological environment that makes it an ideal biomaterial. However, it is brittle with poor tensile strength that makes it unsuitable for load bearing applications. Materials that are classified as bioceramics include alumina, zirconia, calcium phosphates, silica based glasses or glass ceramics and pyrolytic carbons.

With bioceramics, many parts of human body can be replaced or repaired. Regardless of the type of the ceramic used and the way of implantation, the introduction of an implant in a living body always causes inflammation and frequent infection. These problems can be overridden by using local drug delivery systems to confine drugs, such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, anticancers, etc. The possibility of introducing certain drugs into the ceramic matrices employed for musculoskeletal implantation or by other route for therapeutic purpose is definitely an added potential to be taken into account. The present review aims to furnish an overview on the recent research trends and prospects in bioceramics for drug delivery and targeting.

Types and Properties of Bioceramics
Bioceramics may be bioinert (alumina, zirconia), bioresorbable or biodegradable (tricalcium phosphate) and bioactive (hydroxyapatite, bioactive glasses, and glass-ceramics). Bioinert materials form a fibrous capsule around the implant. Bioactive materials on the other hand form an interfacial bond with the implant, whereas bioresorbable (biodegradable) materials are replaced with the new tissue as the implant dissolved.


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