In this artist’s 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. Credit: 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 particles are formed from a
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
nanoparticles to form when the polymer 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 online edition of 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.