New 3-D microfluidic system offers greater control over production of drug-delivering nanoparticles

March 8, 2011 by Anne Trafton
In this artists rendering of the new system, polymers flow through a microfluidic channel as they are formed into spherical nanoparticles. An organic solvent called acetonitrile helps keep the particles away from the walls and prevent clumping. Image: Nicolle Rager Fuller/Sayo-Art

Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have developed a new way to produce nanoparticles that can deliver drugs for cancer and other diseases. The new production system offers greater control over the size and composition of the particles, allowing large quantities of homogenous particles to be rapidly produced.

The are formed from a commonly used biodegradable polymer that can carry a large number of drug molecules and release them in a controlled fashion while evading the body’s immune system.

In the new production system, a stream of the polymer flows through a microfluidic channel that focuses it three-dimensionally, isolating it from the channel walls and allowing spherical to form when the contacts water side streams. In traditional two-dimensional systems, polymers often clump along the top and bottom walls, clogging the device. The new system uses streams of an organic solvent called acetonitrile to keep the polymers away from the top and bottom walls and prevent such clumping.

The researchers reported their new system in the Feb. 22 online edition of the journal Advanced Materials. Authors are Minsoung Rhee, postdoctoral associate at MIT and Brigham and Women’s; MIT graduate student Pedro Valencia; MIT senior Maria Rodriguez; Institute Professor Robert Langer; Omid Farokhzad, director of the Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and MIT assistant professor of mechanical engineering Rohit Karnik.

Explore further: Gold nanoparticles for controlled drug delivery

Related Stories

Gold nanoparticles for controlled drug delivery

December 30, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Using tiny gold particles and infrared light, MIT researchers have developed a drug-delivery system that allows multiple drugs to be released in a controlled fashion.

Molecules delivering drugs as they walk

August 3, 2010

An octopus-like polymer can "walk" along the wall of a narrow channel as it is pushed through by a solvent. Now research in The Journal of Chemical Physics, which is published by the American Institute of Physics, provides ...

New nanoparticles could improve cancer treatment

October 5, 2010

In recent years, studies have shown that for many types of cancer, combination drug therapy is more effective than single drugs. However, it is usually difficult to get the right amount of each drug to the tumor. Now researchers ...

Cancer's side effects can be lessened with nanoparticles

January 11, 2011

Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have shown that they can deliver the cancer drug cisplatin much more effectively and safely in a form that has been encapsulated in a nanoparticle targeted to prostate tumor ...

Recommended for you

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity

July 28, 2015

When it comes to installing solar cells, labor cost and the cost of the land to house them constitute the bulk of the expense. The solar cells—made often of silicon or cadmium telluride—rarely cost more than 20 percent ...

Could stronger, tougher paper replace metal?

July 24, 2015

Researchers at the University of Maryland recently discovered that paper made of cellulose fibers is tougher and stronger the smaller the fibers get. For a long time, engineers have sought a material that is both strong (resistant ...

Changing the color of light

July 23, 2015

Researchers at the University of Delaware have received a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to explore a new idea that could improve solar cells, medical imaging and even cancer treatments. Simply put, they want ...

Wafer-thin material heralds future of wearable technology

July 27, 2015

UOW's Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials (ISEM) has successfully pioneered a way to construct a flexible, foldable and lightweight energy storage device that provides the building blocks for next-generation ...

0 comments

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.