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

Mar 08, 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: 'Human touch' nanoparticle sensor could improve breast cancer detection

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New nanoparticles could improve cancer treatment

Oct 05, 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 ...

Gold nanoparticles for controlled drug delivery

Dec 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

Aug 03, 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, provid ...

Cancer's side effects can be lessened with nanoparticles

Jan 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 ...

Recommended for you

For electronics beyond silicon, a new contender emerges

10 hours ago

Silicon has few serious competitors as the material of choice in the electronics industry. Yet transistors, the switchable valves that control the flow of electrons in a circuit, cannot simply keep shrinking ...

Making quantum dots glow brighter

12 hours ago

Researchers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Oklahoma have found a new way to control the properties of quantum dots, those tiny chunks of semiconductor material that glow ...

The future face of molecular electronics

12 hours ago

The emerging field of molecular electronics could take our definition of portable to the next level, enabling the construction of tiny circuits from molecular components. In these highly efficient devices, ...

User comments : 0