Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Breakthrough: UNC scientists have created world’s tiniest uniform, precisely shaped organic particles

22.06.2005


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chemists have developed what they believe is a breakthrough method of creating the world’s tiniest manufactured particles for delivering drugs and other organic materials into the human body.



Adapting technology pioneered by the electronics industry in fabricating transistors, the team has figured out for the first time how to create particles for carrying genetic material, pharmaceuticals and other compounds of unprecedented small size and uniformity. The tiny bits are so small they can be designed and constructed to measure only a hundred nanometers or so in diameter. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.

Leading the group is Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at UNC and N.C. State University. A member of the UNC College of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, DeSimone also directs the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for Environmentally Responsible Solvents and Processes and the Institute for Advanced Materials, Nanoscience and Technology at UNC.


"Billions of dollars are being spent now on nanotechnology and nanoparticles, but 99 percent of the materials people are focusing on are metals and metal oxides, which are inorganic," DeSimone said. "Our method, which is really exciting, for the first time opens the world’s door to marrying organic materials to nanotechnology. Biology, after all, is almost exclusively organic materials.

"We really believe this work will have a profound positive impact down the road on human health care. This includes, but is not limited to, chemotherapy, gene therapy, disease detection and drug delivery."

A report on the findings appeared online this morning (June 21) in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Other authors -- all in chemistry at UNC -- are Drs. Jason P. Rolland and Ginger M. Denison, recent Ph.D. recipients; Drs. Benjamin W. Maynor and Larkin E. Euliss, postdoctoral fellows; and graduate student Ansley E. Exner.

Until now, DeSimone said, most current techniques for particle formation were incompatible with organic materials. That was because they involved baking, etching or processing robust metals and such with solvents that would have destroyed far more fragile organic matter such as genes or drugs.

The new method avoids harsh treatment but also allows formation of uniform particles in any shape designers choose – spheres, rods, cones, trapezoidal solids, etc. -- and essentially any composition, he said. The relatively simple process, which he and colleagues are calling Particle Replication in Nonwetting Templates, or PRINT, also avoids creating films or "scum layers" that would clump particles together rather than allowing them to be harvested independent of one another.

"This is in contrast to traditional imprint lithography with silicon, glass or quartz molds where it is difficult to eliminate this residual material between objects," DeSimone said.

Particles injected into the body can be designed to be biodegradable, he said. Some are made from the same material used to make surgical sutures. They will incorporate as "cargo" whatever biological material designers want to get into patients’ bloodstreams for more efficient uptake by cells for diagnostic testing or therapy.

Studies with various organic compounds have been very successful, the chemist said. New studies with mice have recently begun at the UNC School of Medicine, which DeSimone joined as professor of pharmacology.

"The process starts off when we make a master template in a clean room at places like the Triangle National Lithography Center at N.C. State University," DeSimone said. "From that we make impressions with what we call liquid Teflon, and the resulting molds look something like ice cube trays with tiny cavities in them. After that, we mold the carrier and fragile functional materials into whatever particles we want and gently wash them off the molds with buffer solutions into vials or other containers to concentrate them. Then they can be injected."

DeSimone, his colleagues, UNC and others have formed a new company, Liquidia Technologies Inc., with $2.5 million in angel funding and venture capital to further develop and commercialize the unique new technology. It is the second company for which DeSimone has been largely responsible.

The first was MiCell Technologies, which developed his research showing that it was possible to use carbon dioxide as a solvent in place of organic solvents, which polluted the environment.

"We are most excited about the commercial implications of Professor DeSimone’s breakthrough with PRINT," said Dr. Lowry Caudill, chairman of Liquidia. "We believe that the PRINT process is an extremely versatile method that offers unparalleled uniformity and precision for making organic nanoparticles that will have profound implications in medicine and many other industries, including display technologies.

"Prior to this, no one else has fused the highly uniform and precise methods for fabricating transistors with the organic nanoparticle world," said Bruce Boucher, president of Liquidia. "It is truly a revolutionary discovery."

Support for the research came from the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation and the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professorship.

David Williamson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>