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Pure Appl. Chem., 2009, Vol. 81, No. 10, pp. 1881-1888

Published online 2009-10-03

Thermoanalytical methods applied to medicine

Beverley D. Glass1* and Michael E. Brown2

1 School of Pharmacy and Molecular Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, 4811 Australia
2 Department of Chemistry, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, 6140 South Africa

Abstract: Thermoanalytical methods have found increasing application in medicine due to the improved sensitivity and usability of the available instrumentation. Studies have identified important findings applied to medicine, including information on the thermal properties of the skin and the effect of insertion into body cavities of implants and prosthetics. These studies have explored the thermal stability of various materials to provide insight into drug penetration in order to design drug delivery systems, which are not only safe but capable of delivering improved and predictable therapeutic outcomes for patients. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) has also been applied to the study of disease states such as diabetes, where changes in the collagen structure of the skin which may lead to long-term complications in these patients, can be detected. Although these results may at this stage not have significant clinical implications, they do provide medical researchers with a starting point for future investigations. The application of these techniques has been further extended to examinations of body systems and other disease states. The key for the future will be the ability of these techniques not only to provide information on alterations in these biological systems, but also to determine whether these alterations are clinically relevant.