Biomedical engineers at Duke University have conceived a method for making small particles that are safe for living tissues that will enable them to create new shapes attractive for drug delivery, diagnostics and tissue engineering.
The results feature online on March 12 in the journal Nature Communications.
In the world of biocompatible microparticles, shape, size, internal microstructure and sort of material dictate their intrinsic properties.
Though corporations and research labs can fabricate many complex microparticles, the process often includes sophisticated manufacturing methods such as multiple-emulsion microfluidics or stream lithography.
Multiple-emulsion microfluidics tediously controls a series of oil droplets; however, it struggles to keep materials separate from each other and cannot be used for large-scale production.
Circulation lithography sheds light through a patterned mask to etch shapes in soft materials and might make many particles in short order; however, the procedure is troublesome to tailor to complex shapes and internal architectures.
Working with Ashutosh Chilkoti, the Alan L. Kaganov Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke, Roberts set out to attempt a novel approach—biological materials.
ELPs and POPs can be engineered to move back and forth between part states at specific temperatures. While it is a helpful feature for purposes such as slowly releasing medicine into the body or supporting tissue growth in wounds, the researchers discovered that they might create varied particle shapes by putting both the particles together.