Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Capillary device significantly improves manufacture of quality liposomes

Date:
May 21, 2014
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Widespread application for the manufactured vesicles known as liposomes has been hindered by limiting factors such as size inconsistency, structural instability and high production costs. A new approach overcomes these obstacles. The group's novel system is made up of bundled capillary tubes, costs less than a $1 to make and requires no special fabrication technology or expertise, yet consistently yields large quantities of uniform and sturdy vesicles.

When the English author Sir Francis Bacon wrote "The world's a bubble" in 1629, it's a safe bet he wasn't thinking about microfluidics. However, for a research team led by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Bacon's words could not be truer. Since 2004, their world has revolved around the development of increasingly sophisticated microfluidic devices to produce liquid-filled "bubbles" called liposomes for potential use as vehicles to deliver drugs directly to cancers and other diseased cells within the body.

Liposomes are spheres made of a double layer of phospholipids, the fat complexes that are the building blocks for animal cell membranes. They resemble simple cells with the "guts" removed. Widespread application of manufactured liposomes as artificial drug carriers has been hindered by a number of limiting factors such as inconsistency in size, structural instability and high production costs.

In a new article in the journal Lab on a Chip, the team from NIST and the University of Maryland (UM) describes a new approach for overcoming these obstacles. The group's novel system is made up of bundled capillary tubes, costs less than a $1 to make and requires no special fabrication technology or expertise, yet consistently yields large quantities of uniform and sturdy vesicles.

Previous NIST/UM microfluidic liposome-generating devices were two-dimensional designs incorporating tiny channels etched into a silicon wafer with the same techniques used for making integrated circuits. Phospholipid molecules dissolved in isopropyl alcohol were fed via a central inlet channel into a "mixer" channel and focused into a fluid jet by a water-based solution added through two side channels. The components blended together as they mixed at the interfaces of the flowing fluid streams, directing the phospholipid molecules to self-assemble into nanoscale vesicles of controlled size.

In the latest NIST/UM advance, the planar structure has been replaced by a three-dimensional microfluidic device. The new liposome generator consists of a 3-millimeter-diameter glass cylinder containing a bundle of seven tiny glass capillary tubes -- each a millimeter across, or about the diameter of a pinhead -- with one in the center and six surrounding it. A micro-sized plastic capillary (about 500 micrometers in diameter, or the length of an amoeba) is fed through the center tube and extended just beyond the end of the capillary bundle. All of the materials are commercially available at pennies per unit.

The water-based solution (known as PBS) flows through the outer six capillaries while the center channel carries the phospholipid dissolved in alcohol (in production, the PBS would carry a drug or other cargo for the vesicles). A standard glass pipette attached to the end of the microfluidic device improves mixing by concentrating the ratio of water to lipid/alcohol.

"With our 3D capillary device, we can increase production of high-quality liposomes threefold from what our 2D planar system can do in the same amount of time," says NIST research chemical engineer Wyatt Vreeland, one of the authors on the Lab on a Chip paper.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Renee R. Hood, Don L. DeVoe, Javier Atencia, Wyatt N. Vreeland, Donna M. Omiatek. A facile route to the synthesis of monodisperse nanoscale liposomes using 3D microfluidic hydrodynamic focusing in a concentric capillary array. Lab on a Chip, 2014; DOI: 10.1039/C4LC00334A

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Capillary device significantly improves manufacture of quality liposomes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521095106.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2014, May 21). Capillary device significantly improves manufacture of quality liposomes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521095106.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Capillary device significantly improves manufacture of quality liposomes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521095106.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Lithium Battery 'Holy Grail' Could Provide 4 Times The Power

Newsy (July 28, 2014) Stanford University published its findings for a "pure" lithium ion battery that could have our everyday devices and electric cars running longer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins