Microfluidic remote loading for rapid single-step liposomal drug preparation
Microfluidic-directed formation of liposomes is combined with in-line sample purification and remote drug loading for single step, continuous-flow synthesis of nanoscale vesicles containing high concentrations of stably loaded drug compounds. Using an on-chip microdialysis element, the system enables rapid formation of large transmembrane pH and ion gradients, followed by immediate introduction of amphipathic drug for real-time remote loading into the liposomes. The microfluidic process enables in-line formation of drug-laden liposomes with drug : lipid molar ratios of up to 1.3, and a total on-chip residence time of approximately 3 min, representing a significant improvement over conventional bulk-scale methods which require hours to days for combined liposome synthesis and remote drug loading. The microfluidic platform may be further optimized to support real-time generation of purified liposomal drug formulations with high concentrations of drugs and minimal reagent waste for effective liposomal drug preparation at or near the point of care.