Microfluidics: An Alternative Method for Developing Nanoparticle Drug Delivery Systems

The encapsulation of drugs within purposely formulated liposome nanoparticles offers the potential for more controlled and sustained release, as well as reducing toxicity and adverse side effects. However, this approach requires the consistent and reproducible fabrication of monodisperse particles. Conventional methods of drug encapsulation, such as thin-film hydration, typically exhibit poor control over size distribution and batch-to-batch variability making it difficult to achieve consistent particle dispersion. Microfluidic technologies offer an alternative approach to the manufacture of nanoparticles for drug delivery, overcoming the above issues and providing a high throughput and continuous method of production.

Researchers at the University of Manchester, Division of Pharmacy and Optometry, are taking advantage of a modular system from Dolomite Microfluidics to optimize nano- and microparticle formulations and achieve maximum therapeutic efficacy. The system offers high control over process parameters, helping to eliminate batch-to-batch variation and produce consistent monodisperse nano- and microparticles, such as liposomes and polymeric nanoparticles. Dr Annalisa Tirella, lecturer in pharmaceutics at the university, explained: “Our researchers have successfully configured the Dolomite system to fabricate PLGA drug delivery systems for oncology applications, and liposomes for the co-delivery of therapeutics. Advanced liposome formulations co-encapsulating a lipophilic drug in the lipid bilayer and a hydrophilic drug in the aqueous core have already been proven to be cytotoxic to breast cancer cells.”

The researchers are now expanding their study to gain a deeper understanding of the process and develop robust fabrication methods to produce nanoparticles with controlled size, surface properties and other features of the particle system for various model drugs. With microfluidics, distinct manufacturing parameters can be easily adjusted according to the materials used, hence researchers are able to assess how these impact particle characteristics. One of the current research areas focuses on the design of polymeric nanoparticles, to increase the amount of loaded drug and overcome the issue of burst release. Microfluidic approaches have the potential to transform the future of drug delivery methods, allowing the facile design of formulations and easy scale-up of the manufacturing process.

About Dolomite Microfluidics

Established in 2005, Dolomite Microfluidics has grown to be the world leader in the design and manufacture of high- quality innovative microfluidic products.

The company offers a range of microfluidic systems, components, and specialist chemicals – including pumps, chips, connectors, temperature controllers, sensors, accessories and custom-made components – as well as software for analysis or automation.

Modularity, ease of use, innovation, and scalability are common to all Dolomite Microfluidics products, which are used across a broad range of applications in biology, drug discovery, chemistry, food, cosmetics, and academia.

Dolomite is a part of the Blacktrace group of companies, a world leader in Productizing Science®, and has offices in the US, Japan, India, Brazil, and Hanoi as well as a worldwide network of distributors.