Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Pharmaceutical Science

First Advisor

Michael A. Repka

Second Advisor

Dr. Walter Chambliss

Third Advisor

Eman Ashour


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Targeted drug delivery for preventing colorectal cancer (CRC) reoccurrence after surgery can be one of the potent tumor reduction methods among other therapies, such as chemotherapy, ablation, embolization, and radiation therapy. Curcumin has been reported to target the growth factors in carcinoma cells and thereby reducing the proliferation and accelerating the apoptosis of the cancerous cells. Due to its poor bioavailability, it has several limitations for its use in anti-cancer therapy. Piperine has increased the solubility and bioavailability of curcumin and acts synergistically to suppress cancer cell growth. The current study intended to develop novel curcumin implants by coupling hot melt extrusion (HME) and fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing for targeted drug delivery. The filaments of 10-30% curcumin were first extruded by HME at 80°C, followed by the extrusion of curcumin in combination with piperine filaments. The filaments were analyzed for curcumin content uniformity which was found to be 92-98%. Filaments of 0.15-0.17 mm diameter were processed for 3D printing. The tri-hexagon pore shaped circular implants have a diameter of 40 mm and thicknesses of 0.1, 0.3, and 0.5 mm. The mechanical strength test shows that the implants are durable, and which require force over 4000 gm to penetrate their surface. The prepared implants were subjected to characterization tests like DSC, SEM, and FTIR, followed by an in-vitro release study, cell line study, and degradation study. Through SEM, the surface morphology of the implants was found to be uniform and smooth. DSC and FTIR examination showed that the drug and polymer were compatible throughout the process and did not show the presence of any new chemical bonds. The in-vitro release study was carried out for 14 days, and the drug release was influenced by the thickness of the implant. The drug release is inversely proportional to the thickness of the implant. Piperine enhanced the solubility of curcumin and showed higher drug release in a range of 2-24% than implants containing only curcumin. The cell line studies show that curcumin and piperine combination implants have shown the least cell viability (43.5%) as compared to only curcumin implants. Thus, drug-eluting curcumin-piperine implants can be foreseen as potential for personalized therapy for colorectal cancer.

Available for download on Saturday, September 13, 2025