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Continuous-flow production of perfluorocarbon-loaded polymeric nanoparticles: From the bench to clinic

: Hoogendijk, Esmee; Swider, Edyta; Staal, Alexander H.J.; White, Paul B.; Riessen, N. Koen van; Glaßer, Gunnar; Lieberwirth, Ingo; Musyanovych, Anna; Serra, Christophe A.; Srinivas, Mangala; Koshkina, Olga


ACS applied materials & interfaces 12 (2020), Nr.44, S.49335-49345
ISSN: 1944-8244
ISSN: 0013-936X
ISSN: 1944-8252
Fraunhofer IMM ()
nanoparticles; perfluorocarbon; microfluidic; multimodal imaging; 19F MRI; ultrasound; oxygen carriers; cell tracking

Perfluorocarbon-loaded nanoparticles are powerful theranostic agents, which are used in the therapy of cancer and stroke and as imaging agents for ultrasound and 19F magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Scaling up the production of perfluorocarbon-loaded nanoparticles is essential for clinical translation. However, it represents a major challenge as perfluorocarbons are hydrophobic and lipophobic. We developed a method for continuous-flow production of perfluorocarbon-loaded poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles using a modular microfluidic system, with sufficient yields for clinical use. We combined two slit interdigital micromixers with a sonication flow cell to achieve efficient mixing of three phases: liquid perfluorocarbon, PLGA in organic solvent, and aqueous surfactant solution. The production rate was at least 30 times higher than with the conventional formulation. The characteristics of nanoparticles can be adjusted by changing the flow rates and type of solvent, resulting in a high PFC loading of 20–60 wt % and radii below 200 nm. The nanoparticles are nontoxic, suitable for 19F MRI and ultrasound imaging, and can dissolve oxygen. In vivo19F MRI with perfluoro-15-crown-5 ether-loaded nanoparticles showed similar biodistribution as nanoparticles made with the conventional method and a fast clearance from the organs. Overall, we developed a continuous, modular method for scaled-up production of perfluorocarbon-loaded nanoparticles that can be potentially adapted for the production of other multiphase systems. Thus, it will facilitate the clinical translation of theranostic agents in the future.