Microspheres for controlled release drug delivery

Neelesh K. Varde, Daniel W. Pack

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Controlled release drug delivery employs drug-encapsulating devices from which therapeutic agents may be released at controlled rates for long periods of time, ranging from days to months. Such systems offer numerous advantages over traditional methods of drug delivery, including tailoring of drug release rates, protection of fragile drugs and increased patient comfort and compliance. Polymeric microspheres are ideal vehicles for many controlled delivery applications due to their ability to encapsulate a variety of drugs, biocompatibility, high bioavailability and sustained drug release characteristics. Research discussed in this review is focused on improving large-scale manufacturing, maintaining drug stability and enhancing control of drug release rates. This paper describes methods of microparticle fabrication and the major factors controlling the release rates of encapsulated drugs. Furthermore, recent advances in the use of polymer microsphere-based systems for delivery of single-shot vaccines, plasmid DNA and therapeutic proteins are discussed, as well as some future directions of microsphere research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Drug delivery
  • Microparticle fabrication
  • Plasmid DNA delivery
  • PLGA
  • Polyanhydrides, poly(lactide-co-glycolide)
  • Polymer microspheres
  • Protein stability
  • Single-shot vaccines
  • Therapeutic proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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