Researchers in UKZN’s Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences have developed a novel pH-responsive liposome, which increases the number of options for the development of a biocompatible, non-irritating and cost-effective nano- or micro-drug delivery system. 


Second generation (2G) drug delivery systems (DDS) were not optimal in producing clinically useful products, due to the differences in the routes of drug administration and formulations developed for the 2G DDS. Profiles are determined by the body rather than by drug delivery systems themselves. 


pH-responsive lipids are capable of forming disperse aqueous solutions of small bilayer structures which can be employed to facilitate delivery of various molecules into biological system such as cells. Furthermore, they can be loaded with any number of drugs including but not limited to antibiotics, anticancer and anti-asthmatic agents, and nucleic acids.


The UKZN technology is aimed at designing and synthesizing lipids with desired biophysical properties that can be exploited for the development of pH-responsive liposomes to promote efficient drug delivery at the targeted site while retaining low cytotoxicity and immunogenicity. It is also aimed at providing bio-safe pH-responsive lipids and their resultant responsive liposomes for targeted nano-drug delivery applications as well as ester intermediates of synthesized bio-safe pH-responsive lipids.


Principle Investigator: Prof. Thirumala Govender