"Molecular self-assembly of polymers offers the ability to create uniform, tailorable structures of predetermined size and shape," Epps says. "The problem lies in assuming that once they're produced, they don't change."
It turns out that they do change, and very small changes can have a very large impact.
"At 75 nanometers, a nanocarrier may deliver its cargo directly to a tumor," Epps says. "But with vigorous shaking, it can grow to 150 nanometers and may accumulate in the liver or the spleen. So simple agitation can completely alter the distribution profile of the nanocarrier-drug complex in the body."
The work has significant implications for the production, storage, and use of nano-based drug delivery systems.
About the research
The researchers used a variety of experimental techniques including cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM), small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), small angle neutron scattering (SANS), and dynamic light scattering (DLS) to probe the effects of common preparation conditions on the long-term stability of the self-assembled structures.
The work was carried out in collaboration with the University's Center for Neutron Science and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research.
The paper was co-authored by Elizabeth Kelley, Ryan Murphy, Jonathan Seppala, Thomas Smart, and Sarah Hann.
Thomas H. Epps, III, is the Thomas and Kipp Gutshall Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Millicent Sullivan is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
|Contact: Andrea Boyle Tippett|
University of Delaware