Microfluidics-Generated Biodegradable Polymeric Microparticles for Controlled Drug Delivery
While drug-loaded biodegradable polymer microparticles have found many therapeutic applications, bulk manufacturing methods produce heterogeneous populations of particles. A more highly controlled manufacturing method may provide the ability improve the microparticle characteristics such as the drug release profile. Microfluidic droplet-makers manipulate liquids on the scale of tens of microns and can produce highly regular and controlled emulsions. However, microfluidic droplet manufacturing is not typically designed for clinical translation and the chemicals used are often not biocompatible.
I developed a two-chip PDMS-based microfluidic device that can manufacture PLGA microparticle loaded with hydrophilic or hydrophobic drugs. I characterized protein-loaded microparticles made using this device and compared them with bulk-generated microparticles. The microfluidics-generated microparticles had similar release curves and encapsulation efficiencies as bulk-generated microparticles but a much narrower size distribution. I generated peanut protein-loaded microparticles with this device and tested them in a mouse model of peanut allergy, improving the particles as the project evolved to have a higher loading level and lower burst release. The microparticles improved the safety and efficacy of an immunotherapy protocol. I also encapsulated hydrophilic and hydrophobic chemotherapeutic drugs for a brain cancer model.
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