Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are touting a computational model that could prevent microparticle clogging during injections.
Microparticles, which are about the size of a grain of sand, can be difficult to inject if they get clogged in a typical syringe. The research team at MIT developed this new model that determines the optimal design for injectability, analyzing a number of factors including shapes and sizes of the particles.
Other factors considered include the viscosity of the solution in which the microparticles are suspended and the size and shape of the syringe and needle used to deliver. Particle size, particle concentration in the solution, solution viscosity and needle size proved to be the most important factors in the process.
According to a news release, the model offers a six-fold increase in the percentage of microparticles that can be successfully injected, and it gives the researchers hope that they can develop and test microparticles that could be used to deliver cancer immunotherapy drugs, among other potential applications.
“This is a framework that can help us with some of the technologies that we’ve developed in the lab and that we’re trying to get into the clinic,” MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research scientist Ana Jaklenec said in the release.
The researchers developed an optimal shape for the syringe that resembles a nozzle with a wide diameter tapered toward the tip. In testing this syringe, they found that the percentage of particles delivered increased from 15% to nearly 90%.
Now, the team believes that, on top of cancer immunotherapy drugs, the microparticles can be used to deliver a variety of vaccines or drugs, including small-molecule drugs and biologics.
“This is another way to maximize the forces that are acting on the particles and pushing the particles toward the needle,” MIT graduate student & lead author of a paper on the research Morteza Sarmadi said. “It’s a promising result that shows that there’s huge room for improvement in the injectability of microparticle systems.”
Funding for the MIT research came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Koch Institute Support (core) Grant from the National Cancer Institute, and a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschestein National Research Service Award.