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Title: Production of biodegradable polymeric microparticles for drug delivery using microfluidic emulsification and solvent evaporation
Author: Ekanem, Ekanem E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 0186
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2017
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Methods for the manufacture of monodisperse emulsions that serve as templates for the production of microspheres used in drug encapsulation are being increasingly explored. This is because such uniform emulsions bring about microparticles that possess higher drug encapsulation efficiencies and more predictable release profiles. In this work, droplet microfluidics is used for the generation of monodispersed emulsion droplets which serve as precursors for the production of microspheres with varying controllable surface and internal microstructures. Using flow focussing and co-flow/flow focussing geometric 3D (axisymmetric) glass capillary devices, microfluidic emulsification was achieved as a result of the unique cross-section orifice of its collection capillary. This enabled the symmetrical enveloping of a dispersed polymer solution phase by an aqueous continuous phase to easily generate droplets with coefficients of variation (CV) values less than 3%. Sustained droplet generation techniques using existing software were investigated and a customized computer code using LABVIEW® written in this work to extend knowledge in this regard. Results show that by varying either the dispersed phase formulation or solvent evaporation conditions, monodisperse microparticles (CV < 5 %) with plain, nanoclay-embedded, dimpled, porous, Janus, hemispherical, patched, thin walled core-shell and crescent morphologies are produced from generated emulsions using glass capillary microfluidic devices. Particle morphology tuning was also discovered to modify drug release trends for both hydrophobic and hydrophilic trends. Furthermore, microchannel emulsification was done using pre-fabricated single crystal silicon microchannel chips to explore possibilities of up-scaling droplet microfluidics for coronary artery microparticulate drug delivery with techniques developed with glass capillary devices. Apart from its sustained droplet generation potentials and drug encapsulation possibilities, miniaturization was discovered to have an effect on microparticle morphology. In view of the precision, predictability and size/morphological tuning of all producible microparticles which reflects their potential as designer microparticles, further work on parallelized microfluidic platforms is recommended. Coupled with the development of a fully controlled system whose detection system development has been initiated in this work, large scale commercial microparticle production for drug delivery is attainable.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Niger Delta Development Commission ; Nigeria
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Chemical Engineering not elsewhere classified ; Drop microfluidics ; Flow focusing ; Biodegradable microspheres ; Monodispersed microparticle ; Controlled drug release ; Drug delivery systems ; Poly(lactic acid) ; Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) ; Polycaprolactone ; Nanoclay