Mimicking Biological Complexity, in a Tiny Particle
Summary posted by Meridian on 8/17/2011
Source: MIT News
Author(s): Anne Trafton
Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States, have developed a way to make microparticles of nearly any shape. The advance could lead to better drug delivery and artificial tissues that imitate natural tissue. Current production methods for such microparticles yield only a limited array of shapes and can only be made with certain materials. The MIT engineers developed a micromold that change shape in response to temperature. The method also allows researchers to create microparticles from a much more diverse range of materials. Drugs can be placed into different compartments of the particles, allowing better control over the timing of drug release. The technology can be used to arrange different cells into layers to create tissue that closely mimics the structure of natural tissues. Michael Sefton, a professor at the University of Toronto Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, Canada, who was not involved in this project, said, "The method is quite creative. It offers the opportunity to make multilayer microstructures. The next step is figuring out what you can do with these two-layer structures." The engineers hope to eventually use this technique to build large tissues and even entire organs. Their paper describing the technique was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
The original article may still be available at http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/patterned-particles-0816.html