Liposomes are artificially constructed nanostructures inspired by the composition and structure of cell membranes. They are widely used for various therapeutic applications, including drug delivery and vaccines. Conventional liposome preparation is based on bulk synthesis and requires multiple steps. Multifunctional liposomes – such as those required for tumour-targeting – require additional steps, making them costly, time-consuming and unviable for large scale production and commercialisation.
To overcome these limitations, Dr Chun-Xia Zhao’s team from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have developed a new one-step microfluidic self-assembly method for manufacturing multifunctional targeted liposomes with precisely controlled properties, such as size, size distribution, PEGylation, the density of the targeting ligand, the encapsulation of imaging agents and drugs.
Developed using microfluidic device fabrication and confocal imaging facilities at ANFF-Q, this microfluidic technology holds great potential for large-scale production by parallelisation. The same microfluidic design can also be used to produce monodisperse liposomes with precisely controlled size and surface properties.
The research team’s study published in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces examined the in vitro efficacy of tumour-targeting liposomes produced using this novel method.
“Our work demonstrated the versatility of using this microfluidic method for producing different liposome formulations in a single step, their superior properties as well as the excellent biological functions,” said Mr Rui Ran, the first author of this work.
“Because of the simplicity and versatility of this single-step microfluidic hydrodynamic flow focusing technology, it holds great potential in making various kinds of liposome formulations for actual applications.”
Microfluidic synthesis of multifunctional liposomes for tumour targeting. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 148, 402–410, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.colsurfb.2016.09.016