Wrinkled membranes create novel drug-delivery system

February 13, 2006

A University of Illinois scientist studying how membranes wrinkle has discovered a novel system for on-demand drug delivery.

Sahraoui Chaieb, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, has created temperature-sensitive capsules that can release drugs on demand. The capsules, which can range in size from 10 to 100 microns, can be tuned to deliver drugs at different rates. Chaieb reports his findings in the Feb. 17 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

To make the capsules, Chaieb begins by confining a drug inside lipid bilayer membranes. Some of the lipids are then "sewn together" through a polymerization process. Cooling the capsules by 10 degrees Celsius causes the capsules to crumple and collapse like deflated beach balls, releasing the drug.

"The release rate can be controlled by the amount of wrinkling that occurs," said Chaieb, who also is a professor of bioengineering and a researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. "And the amount of wrinkling is dependent upon the degree of membrane polymerization that took place."

One problem that remains is how to cool the capsules without harming the surrounding tissue. The solution, Chaieb said, might lie in newly discovered nanoparticles that can be chilled through magnetic cooling.

Chaieb and colleagues at Illinois are exploring ways to coat the capsules with the nanoparticles. When exposed to a magnetic field, the nanoparticles would cool down and remove heat from the capsules. The capsules would then wrinkle and release the drug.

Source: University of Illinois

Related Stories

Recommended for you

NASA measuring the pulsating aurora

October 7, 2015

Thanks to a lucky conjunction of two satellites, a ground-based array of all-sky cameras, and some spectacular aurora borealis, researchers have uncovered evidence for an unexpected role that electrons have in creating the ...

IROS 2015: Thermobot feels the heat and walks (and walks)

October 7, 2015

Takeru Nemoto and Akio Yamamoto of University of Tokyo have presented a bipedal walking robot which is driven by constant heating. No sensors. No actuators, said Even Ackerman in IEEE Spectrum. Just a hot surface will do ...

The topolariton, a new half-matter, half-light particle

October 7, 2015

A new type of "quasiparticle" theorized by Caltech's Gil Refael, a professor of theoretical physics and condensed matter theory, could help improve the efficiency of a wide range of photonic devices—technologies, such as ...

Perfectly accurate clocks turn out to be impossible

October 7, 2015

Can the passage of time be measured precisely, always and everywhere? The answer will upset many watchmakers. A team of physicists from the universities of Warsaw and Nottingham have just shown that when we are dealing with ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.