Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Two-in-one packaging may increase drug efficacy and reduce side effects

12.01.2016

Researchers have developed a speedy, controllable way to get two or more ingredients into the same tiny capsule and only have them mix when triggered by a signal like vibrations or heat

Chemotherapy often comes with powerful side effects, and one of the reasons for this is that the drugs used to kill cancer cells can also damage other fast-growing cells in the body, like hair follicles. But one possibility for reducing these side effects may be if the chemotherapy drugs only become toxic when they reach the tumor.


A new device creates tiny capsules filled with multiple inner droplets by funneling different ingredients through two inner needles. As all the ingredients exit the needles through a single nozzle, a high-speed gas forces the liquids into a narrow stream that breaks up into individual droplets.

Credit: Ronald Xu/The Ohio State University

The search for such targeted drug delivery options for chemotherapy and other treatments inspired a team of researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China and The Ohio State University to develop a new way to package two or more ingredients into a single capsule. If the ingredients must be mixed for the drug to work, doctors could trigger the mixing in targeted area of the body, boosting drug efficiency while reducing side effects.

The researchers report their method for multi-ingredient encapsulation and triggered mixing in a new paper in the journal Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing.

... more about:
»Applied Physics »Chemotherapy »droplets »drugs

While the work has shown promise because it allows the researcher to produce micro capsules, they have not yet used the technique to encapsulate cancer treatments. If such capsules can be made, they will have to prove safe and effective in clinical trials before becoming widely available to treat cancer.

"One of the limitations of chemotherapy is that less than 5 percent of the drugs typically get to the tumor, while the rest can be absorbed by other organs," said Ronald Xu, a professor in biomedical engineering at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. One possible way to address the problem could be to make the drugs non-toxic when injected into the body and trigger mixing that would produce a toxic product only near the tumor site.

For such drugs to work on a large scale, there must be a way to quickly, controllably, and cost-effectively produce capsules with two or more active ingredients. If the drugs are to be injected and spread through the body via the bloodstream, the capsules should also be small.

Xu and his colleagues from the University of Science and Technology of China developed a device that can produce tiny capsules approximately 100 microns across (about the size of a speck of dust) with multiple inner ingredients. Ting Si, the first author on the paper and an expert in fluid mechanics, also developed mathematical models that show the relationship between process parameters, like flow rate and needle diameter, and the size of the final capsules. The models were used to achieve the designated capsule sizes.

The device works by funneling different ingredients through two inner needles. The inner needles run parallel to each other and are both enclosed in a larger outer needle, which contains an ingredient for making the outer shell of the capsule. As all the ingredients exit the needles through a single nozzle, a high-speed gas forces the liquids into a narrow stream that breaks up into individual droplets.

An electric field stabilizes the flow so that uniform droplets are created. Depending on the relative flow rates, each droplet may contain two or more smaller inner droplets made from the ingredients in the inner needles.

The researchers tested their device with colored paraffin wax - red in one needle and blue in the other. The outer shell was made from sodium alginate - a material extracted from seaweed that turned gelatinous when the droplets fell into a calcium chloride solution.

Depending on the experimental conditions, the team was able to produce between 1,000 to 100,000 capsules per second, and nearly 100 percent of the inner liquids were incorporated into the capsules without any waste. Once encapsulated, the two colors of wax did not mix, because of surface tension, but the team demonstrated that they could force the red and blue wax to merge by vibrating the capsules. The team also demonstrated that they could release the inner droplets by dissolving the outer shell.

The key features of the new device are its high efficiency and yield, and the fact that the size of the droplets can be uniformly controlled, Xu said. By further fine-tuning the device's operation Xu predicts that the team could make capsules that are 3-5 microns across, about the size of a red blood cell. The process can also be easily scaled up by building an array of nozzles and could be modified to encapsulate 3 or more active ingredients by adding additional inner needles.

While Xu and his colleagues were motivated by drug delivery, their device might also find wider use in a range of applications that require controlled reactions, such as regenerative medicine, and nuclear and chemical engineering, Xu said.

###

The article, "Steady cone-jet mode in compound-fluidic electro-flow focusing for fabricating multicompartment microcapsules," is authored by Ting Si, Chuansheng Yin, Peng Gao, Guangbin Li, Hang Ding, Xiaoming He, Bin Xie and Ronald X. Xu. It will be published in the journal Applied Physics Letters on January 11, 2016 (DOI:10.1063/1.4939632). After that date, it can be accessed at: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/apl/108/2/10.1063/1.4939632

The authors of this paper are affiliated with the University of Science and Technology of China and The Ohio State University.

ABOUT THE JOURNAL

Applied Physics Letters features concise, rapid reports on significant new findings in applied physics. The journal covers new experimental and theoretical research on applications of physics phenomena related to all branches of science, engineering, and modern technology. See: http://apl.aip.org

Jason Socrates Bardi | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Applied Physics Chemotherapy droplets drugs

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

nachricht Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>