Microfluidic-assisted manufacture of self-assembling silk nanoparticles

University of Edinburgh

Active award

Student: Saphia Matthew

Year Award Started: 2019

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, with rates of new cancers predicted to increase as the population ages. Despite heavy investment in research and development, progress has been slow. However, one promising strategy to improve cancer treatment is to package conventional anticancer drugs into nanometre-sized particles. These nanoparticles are about a thousandth of the thickness of a human hair and improve drug accumulation in tumours and reduce side effects. However, the manufacture of these nanoparticle delivery systems requires innovative manufacturing platforms and materials.

One promising material for drug delivery applications is silk, which is well tolerated in the body, degrades naturally and protects therapeutic drugs against breakdown and excretion from the body. Silk can be processed into a liquid form and then triggered to form nanometre-sized particles. This project will investigate the potential of using miniaturised fluid-handling systems to facilitate a one-step production of drug-loaded silk particles. These particles will be fully characterised, including their effectiveness as anticancer drug delivery systems. Our industry partner for this project is Precision Nanosystems Inc., a leading manufacturer of advanced fluid-handling systems.
The outcome of this project will be a new manufacturing method with direct impact on anticancer drug delivery and beyond.

Research area: Cancer


Dr Philipp Seib
Strathclyde Institute for Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
Professor Yvonne Perrie
Strathclyde Institute for Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Precision NanoSystems Inc