Chronic skin diseases such as rosazea, psoriasis, urticaria or atopic dermatitis affect a growing number of patients. These diseases are accompanied with a deficiency in skin barrier function. They can be very stressful to the patients and can be accompanied by severe comorbidities or secondary diseases. The treatment of chronic skin diseases is thus based on two approaches: 1. the treatment of the primary disease with pharmaceutical actives and 2. a rigorous basic treatment to improve the barrier function of the diseased skin. Both are often inadequate. The research of my group therefore focuses on the optimization of both, topical dosage forms containing pharmaceutical actives and drug-free formulations intended for basic therapy.
In this context, topical formulations with tailored release kinetics (e. g. sustained release to the skin) as well as formulations for treatment of specific areas (e. g. mukosa) are developed.
Furthermore, improved basic therapeutics are investigated. As a prerequisite to this, the impact of excipients (e. g. emulsifiers) on the stratum corneum components (e. g. ceramides) is analysed.
Both of these research areas lack predictive in-vitro and ex-vivo models. Thus, the development of such models comprises a substantial part our projects. Among the analytical methods confocal Raman microscopy/microspectroscopy (CRM) plays a major role. CRM has been increasingly used in my work group over the past years to evaluate both the inner structure of formulations as well as tissues and interaction of xenobiotics with tissues (mainly skin). As it is chemically sensitive, non-destructive and label free, it is a promising tool for the evaluation of several aspects of formulation development. We use CRM for characterization of topical dosage forms and skin penetration of active substances.
Novel drugs need novel formulations. This does not only apply to topical treatment but also to oral therapy. Thus, we use 3D printing as a tool to individualize dosage forms, so called “printlets” in order to meet patients’ needs. A pharmaceutical quality 3D printer comprising the printing techniques of fused deposition modelling (FDM), semisolid extrusion (SSE) and direct powder extrusion (DPE) enables us to adjust the printing process to the needs of the patient as well as to the crucial demands of the active pharmaceutical ingredient.