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Microfluidics offer solutions for engineering drug-delivering nanoparticles

OCT 06, 2023
Lipid nanoparticles have many advantages that make them ideal drug carriers, and manufacturing them can be easier with advanced microfluidic techniques.
Microfluidics offer solutions for engineering drug-delivering nanoparticles internal name

Microfluidics offer solutions for engineering drug-delivering nanoparticles lead image

Targeted drug delivery holds the potential to revolutionize the treatment of cancer and other diseases, improving drug efficacy and minimizing its side effects. The delivery vehicles must be able to transport a compound to its intended destination cheaply and reliably, release it on command, and dissolve or be excreted quickly and safely. Though a crucial aspect of drug delivery, meeting these demands poses a challenge.

Lipid-based nanoparticles are a promising class of carriers that are up to the task. Made of the same membranes that enclose human cells, they are non-toxic, biocompatible, and versatile. However, manufacturing them is expensive and sometimes unreliable. Piunti and Cimetta discussed how advances in microfluidics can address these difficulties.

“Microfluidics could be a game-changer by offering unparalleled control over production processes where nanoparticles can be precisely engineered, maintaining uniformity and reproducibility,” said author Elisa Cimetta.

The duo highlighted several recent advances in microfluidics, such as hydrodynamic flow focusing for constructing liposomes and advanced micromixers for loading and sorting. Techniques like microfluidic extrusion, sonication, and electroporation can engineer extracellular vesicles with specific surface features and easily load them with desired cargoes.

The researchers are excited about the potential of these technologies to transform the future of medicine.

“The design possibilities, increased targeting precision, and minimized adverse effects of microfluidics promise a paradigm shift in patient care,” said Cimetta. “Coupling microscale technologies with the principles of personalized medicine offers an intriguing vision on how to reshape therapeutic approaches on a wide range of clinical scenarios.”

Source: “Microfluidic approaches for producing lipid-based nanoparticles for drug delivery applications,” by Caterina Piunti and Elisa Cimetta, Biophysics Reviews (2023). The article can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0150345 .

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