Science & Technology in Action

1st Edition

Delivering Pharmaceuticals Effectively

Elan Corporation plc

The lesson describes the human circulatory system and the function of the blood in exchanging material with body cells. It deals with the concepts of solubility and bioavailability in the context of the transport of pharmaceutical substances. It also describes the proprietary NanoCrystal technology.
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Contains the full lesson along with a supporting toolkit, including teachers’ notes.

Lesson excerpt

Why the human bloodstream is important to pharmaceutical scientists
This lesson provides an overview of the circulatory system. We will learn what the blood is and how it transports nutrients to our body cells. Knowledge of the blood transport system is very important to scientists in pharmaceutical companies such as Elan Corporation plc., because drug treatments are also transported around the body in the blood.

The method by which a pharmaceutical substance is administered to a person is known as drug delivery. The extent to which the drug is utilised effectively in the body is known as bioavailability. Whether treatments are taken by mouth, injection or inhalation bioavailabilityis improved if the substance is soluble in water. If it is not soluble, then it can not be delivered efficiently to the bloodstream.

Why do we need a transport system?
Because our tissues and cells are located in discrete locations throughout the body, the essential materials must be brought to them. Also, waste and other ‘export’ materials must be carried away. The materials are carried in a special liquid called blood. Some of these materials are carried in solution and some in suspension. Blood is the liquid that sustains our life

What is a cell?
A cell is the smallest organised structure that demonstrates the characteristics of life. Cells, although very small, are incredibly complex chemical factories taking in materials from their surroundings to sustain their existence and to make copies of themselves.

The cell is the fundamental sub-unit of the human body. Each one of us is composed of about a hundred million million, cooperating and living cells localised in specialised and different tissues. Each second of our lives we make about fifty million new cells mostly to replace ‘worn out’ cells and those that have sacrificed their life for other cells e.g. the skin’s epidermal cells. We also need to produce vast numbers of new defence cells when the body is invaded by pathogens.

Quiz questions

  1. The cell is the fundamental subunit of living organisms. true
  2. A transport system is needed because our tissue cells are immobile. true
  3. is mostly made up of red blood cells. false
  4. Blood plasma is the immediate environment of our tissue cells true
  5. Our blood system is an open system. false
  6. Exchange between blood and tissue cells occurs at the capillaries. true
  7. Muscle and connective tissue are present in capillary walls. false
  8. Red blood cells do not have nuclei. false
  9. Tissue fluid has the same composition as blood plasma. false
  10. White blood cells belong to our defence system. true
  11. White blood cells greatly outnumber red blood cells false
  12. Platelets are involved in blood clotting. false