Peppas Winner of the 2004 Best Research Paper Award of the University

The winners of this year's University Co-op Hamilton Book Awards were announced Sunday, March 28, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin. The Hamilton Awards are the highest honor of literary achievement given to published authors at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of the university, hosted the event and announced the winners.

Prof. Nicholas Peppas of the Department of Biomedical Engineering was awarded the $5,000 Best Research Paper Award for his paper "Novel Complexation Hydrogels for Oral Peptide Delivery: In vitro Evaluation of their Cytocompatibility and Insulin-Transport Enhancing Effects Using Caco-2 Cell Monolayers," published in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, 67, 609-617 (2003). This paper presents research that demonstrates that P(MAA-g-EG) hydrogel microparticles can be cytocompatible carriers possessing a transport-enhancing effect on insulin in intestinal epithelial cells.

While introducing the winner, Dr Juan Sanchez, Vice-President of Research of the University of Texas at Austin, pointed out that this is the first such system that has been shown to work via the oral route. Thus, diabetic patients can avoid the cumbersome continuous injections of insulin and, instead, use dose-dependent capsules. The new system, so far tested in diabetic rats and dogs, can overcome the barriers to oral insulin delivery. In tests on over 150 subjects that were given capsules containing microspheres of PMAA/PEG graft copolymer carrier, bioavailability of up to 16% was determined. This discovery has been greeted with very enthusiastic comments by the medical community. The research was supported by a grant from the National Institites of Health.

This is the second time that a faculty member of the BME Department receives the University-wide Best Research Paper Award. Last year's winner was prof. George Georgiou, also of BME.