Advances in microfluidics devices has allowed an increase in efficiency across a vast swathe of industries. One of the industries reaping the benefits of custom microfluidic devices is the pharmaceutical industry. More specifically, drug delivery systems are making use of microfluidic devices more than ever before.

Drug delivery systems aim at the controlled release and targeted delivery of pharmaceutical compounds to the body. These engineered technologies increase the effectiveness of drugs by targeting the infected organ. . Microfluidics has shown excellent promise at precise delivering and manipulating liquids. Thus, it has gained tremendous attention in manufacturing more effective drug delivery systems. Conventional drug delivery systems are prone to degrading drugs due to the long intake pathway. Microfluidics is capable of reducing the intake path to reduce the chance of degrading sensitive and unstable drugs.

What makes microfluidics an ideal drug carrier?

An ideal drug carrier should be able to provide a versatile range of carriers capable of dealing with different environments in different organs. They should also provide the possibility for adjusting the release rate, as well as reducing drug toxicity. In these instances, microfluidics offers various approaches for producing drug carriers. These approaches are as follows:

  • Self-Assembly:  Self-assembly techniques are often used to fabricate nano to micron sized drug carries. Compared to spherical microcarriers and non-spherical microparticles, self-assembly normally generates smaller drug carriers. In self-assembly delivery systems, the interface of different fluids is compromised to generate the carriers.
  • Spherical Microcarriers: Droplet microfluidics is a powerful tool for generating monodisperse microparticles, microbubbles, and microgels. These microcarriers can be generated a kHz frequency to encapsulate the desired compound. The droplet properties can also be adjusted to fit the specific requirements of the drug (i.e. pH levels or thermo-responsivity).
  • Non-Spherical Microparticles:  Studies have shown that the shape of the drug carrier can affect its ultimate fate within the body. Therefore, microfluidic techniques for generating non-spherical drug carriers have garnered attention in recent years.

Where are microfluidic devices most commonly used for drug delivery?

The flexibility of microfluidic devices has allowed for them to be used as drug delivery systems in multiple facets. Microfluidic devices are being used as drug delivery systems for transdermal drug delivery, ocular drug delivery, and brain drug delivery. Let’s learn a little bit more about each of these microfluidic drug delivery systems.

Transdermal Drug Delivery Systems

Skin is one of the most common methods for administering drugs. Microfluidic chips used in skin drug administration normally make use of microneedles. Recent advances in the manufacture of microfluidic devices has enabled microneedles of different types and shapes to be used in microfluidic chips.

Ocular Drug Delivery Systems

The eye is an extremely sensitive organ, and eye diseases demand precise amounts of drugs. Overdoses of eye drugs can have harmful effects, while underdoses are not effective. Microfluidic devices can solve this problem. They can be hooked up with contact lenses, accompanied by actuatiors that have been designed and developed for drug delivery. Furthermore, rather than being single use, these glass microfluidic devices are capable of being used multiple times.

Brain Drug Delivery System

Microfluidic technology carriers a promise for more effective and efficient neurological probes to cure brain damage and neurodegenerative diseases. Brain intervention requires minimally invasive devices to prevent damaging brain tissues. These microfluidic devices are typically made of glass and are capable of integrating electrical stimulation circuits.

Citrogene: Glass Microfluidic Manufacturer

Citrogene is the leading manufacturer of glass microfluidic devices. Our clients are in a wide variety of industries, showcasing our ability to manufacture glass microfluidic devices for nearly any industry and need. To learn more about our glass microfabrication services, contact us today or submit your design to our engineers.