Loughborough University
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Production of functional pharmaceutical nano/micro-particles by solvent displacement method using advanced micro-engineered dispersion devices

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posted on 2016-10-18, 15:09 authored by Rahimah Othman
The rapid advancement of drug delivery systems (DDS) has raised the possibility of using functional engineered nano/micro-particles as drug carriers for the administration of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to the affected area. The major goals in designing these functional particles are to control the particle size, the surface properties and the pharmacologically active agents release in order to achieve the site-specification of the drug at the therapeutically optimal rate and dose regimen. Two different equipment (i.e. glass capillary microfluidic device and micro-engineered membrane dispersion cell) were utilised in this study for the formation of functional nano/micro-particles by antisolvent precipitation method. This method is based on micromixing/direct precipitation of two miscible liquids, which appear as a straightforward method, rapid and easy to perform, does not require high stirring rates, sonication, elevated temperatures, surfactants and Class 1 solvents can be avoided. Theoretical selection of a good solvent and physicochemical interaction between solvent-water-polymer with the aid of Bagley s two-dimensional graph were successfully elucidated the nature of anti-solvent precipitation method for the formation of desired properties of functional pharmaceutical nano/micro-engineered particles. For the glass capillary microfluidic experiment, the organic phase (a mixture of polymer and tetrahydrofuran/acetone) was injected through the inner glass capillary with a tapered cross section culminated in a narrow orifice. The size of nanoparticles was precisely controlled by controlling phase flow rates, orifice size and flow configuration (two- phase co-flow or counter-current flow focusing). The locations at which the nanoparticles would form were determined by using the solubility criteria of the polymer and the concentration profiles found by numerical modelling. This valuable results appeared as the first computational and experimental study dealing with the formation of polylactide (PLA) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) nanoparticles by nanoprecipitation in a co-flow glass capillary device. The optimum formulations and parameters interactions involved in the preparation of paracetamol encapsulated nanoparticles (PCM-PCL NPs) using a co-flow microfluidic device was successfully simulated using a 25-full factorial design for five different parameters (i.e. PCL concentration, orifice size, flow rate ratios, surfactant concentration and paracetamol amount) with encapsulation efficiency and drug loading percentage as the responses. PCM-loaded composite NPs composed of a biodegradable poly(ᴅ,ʟ-lactide) (PLA) polymer matrix filled with organically modified montmorillonite (MMT) nanoparticles were also successfully formulated by antisolvent nanoprecipitation in a microfluidic co-flow glass capillary device. The incorporation of MMT in the polymer matrix improved the drug encapsulation efficiency and drug loading, and extended the rate of drug release in simulated intestinal fluid (pH 7.4). The encapsulation of MMT and PCM in the NPs were well verified using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS), x-ray diffraction (XRD), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). PCL drug-carrier nanoparticles were also produced by rapid membrane micromixing combined with nanoprecipitation in a stirred cell employing novel membrane dispersion. The size of the NPs was precisely controlled by changing the aqueous-to-organic volumetric ratio, stirring rate, transmembrane flux, the polymer content in the organic phase, membrane type and pore morphologies. The particle size decreased by increasing the stirring rate and the aqueous-to-organic volumetric ratio, and by decreasing the polymer concentration in the aqueous phase and the transmembrane flux. The existence of the shear stress peak within a transitional radius and a rapid decline of the shear stress away from the membrane surface were revealed by numerical modelling. Further investigation on the PCL nanoparticles loaded immunosuppressive rapamycin (RAPA) drug were successfully synthesised by anti-solvent nanoprecipitation method using stainless steel (SS) ringed micro-engineered membrane. Less than 10 µm size of monohydrate piroxicam (PRX) micro-crystals also was successfully formed with the application of anti-solvent precipitation method combined with membrane dispersion cell that has been utilised in the formation of functional engineered nanoparticles. This study is believed to be a new insight into the development of integrated membrane crystallisation system.





  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Chemical Engineering


© Rahimah Othman

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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