Microfluidic assisted synthesis of PLGA drug delivery systems
Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) is a biocompatible and biodegradable polymer that recently attracted attention for use as part of drug delivery systems (DDS). In this context, there is an emerging need for a rapid, reliable and reproducible method of synthesis. Here, microfluidic systems provide great opportunities for synthesizing carriers in a tightly controlled manner and with low consumption of materials, energy and time. These miniature devices have been the focus of recent research since they can address the challenges inherent to the bulk system, e.g. low drug loading efficiency and encapsulation, broad size distribution and burst initial release. In this article, we provide an overview of current microfluidic systems used in drug delivery production, with a special focus on PLGA-based DDS. In this context, we highlight the advantages associated with the use of microchip systems in the fabrication of nanoparticles (NPs) and microparticles (MPs), e.g. in achieving complex morphologies. Furthermore, we discuss the challenges for selecting proper microfluidics for targeted DDS production in a translational setting and introduce strategies that are used to overcome microfluidics shortcomings, like low throughput for production.