Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Liposome-hydrogel hybrids: No toil, no trouble for stronger bubbles

People have been combining materials to bring forth the best properties of both ever since copper and tin were merged to start the Bronze Age.

In the latest successful merger, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the University of Maryland (UM) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have developed a method to combine two substances that individually have generated interest for their potential biomedical applications: a phospholipid membrane "bubble" called a liposome and particles of hydrogel, a water-filled network of polymer chains.

The combination forms a hybrid nanoscale (billionth of a meter) particle that may one day travel directly to specific cells such as tumors, pass easily though the target's cell membrane, and then slowly release a drug payload.

In a recent paper in the journal Langmuir*, the research team reviewed how liposomes and hydrogel nanoparticles have individual advantages and disadvantages for drug delivery. While liposomes have useful surface properties that allow them to target specific cells and pass through membranes, they can rupture if the surrounding environment changes. Hydrogel nanoparticles are more stable and possess controlled release capabilities to tune the dosage of a drug over time, but are prone to degradation and clumping. The researchers' goal was to engineer nanoparticles incorporating both components to utilize the strengths of each material while compensating for their weaknesses.

To manufacture their liposome-hydrogel hybrid vesicles, the researchers adapted a NIST-UM technique known as COMMAND for COntrolled Microfluidic Mixing And Nanoparticle Determination that uses a microscopic fluidic (microfluidic) device (see "NIST, Maryland Researchers COMMAND a Better Class of Liposomes" in NIST Tech Beat, April 27, 2010). In the new work, phospholipid molecules are dissolved in isopropyl alcohol and fed via a tiny (21 micrometers in diameter, or three times the size of a yeast cell) inlet channel into a "mixer" channel, then "focused" into a fluid jet by a water-based solution added through two side channels. Hydrogel precursor molecules are mixed in with the focusing fluid.

As the components blend together at the interfaces of the fluid streams, the phospholipid molecules self-assemble into nanoscale vesicles of controlled size and trap the monomers in solution inside. The newly formed vesicles then are irradiated with ultraviolet light to polymerize the hydrogel precursors they carry into a solid gel made up of cross-linked chains. These chains give strength to the vesicles while permitting them to retain the spherical shape of the liposome envelope (which, in turn, would facilitate passage through a cell membrane).

To turn the liposome-hydrogel hybrid vesicles into cellular delivery vehicles, a drug or other cargo would be added to the focusing fluid during production.

* J.S. Hong, S.M. Stavis, S.H. DePaoli Lacerda, L.E. Locascio, S.R. Raghavan and M. Gaitan. Microfluidic directed self-assembly of liposome-hydrogel hybrid nanoparticles. Langmuir, published online April 29, 2010.

Michael E. Newman | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Hydrogel Liposome-hydrogel NIST microfluidic

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

nachricht 'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>