John Garner

mPEG-PLGA from PolySciTech used in Development of Microwave Manufacturing Technique for Chemotherapeutic-Loaded Nanoparticles

Blog Post created by John Garner on Jan 22, 2019

Dunn, 2019 ZAP polyscitech PEG-PLGA nanoparticles.jpg

Have you ever looked at a microwave oven and wondered if it could be used to manufacture nanoparticles? Microwave electromagnetic radiation generates heat by vibrating the molecules of whatever is placed within range. In a household, most people use this technology to warm up food, such as breakfast burritos. In a lab, however, this same technology can be applied towards a wide array of applications. Recently, researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill used PEG-PLGA (AK010, AK037) from PolySciTech ( as part of developing a microwave-based manufacturing technique to develop nanoparticle formulations containing paclitaxel for cancer delivery system. This research holds promise to enable rapid and efficient nanoparticle manufacturing for improved cancer therapy. Read more: Dunn, Stuart S., J. Christopher Luft, and Matthew C. Parrott. "Zapped assembly of polymeric (ZAP) nanoparticles for anti-cancer drug delivery." Nanoscale (2019).


“Abstract: The starting hypothesis for this work was that microwave synthesis could enable the rapid assembly of polymers into size-specific nanoparticles (NPs). The Zapped Assembly of Polymeric (ZAP) NPs was initially realized using poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLGA-PEG) block copolymers and distinct microwave reaction parameters. A library of polymeric NPs was generated with sizes ranging from sub-20 nm to 350 nm and low polydispersity. Select ZAP NPs were synthesized in 30 seconds at different scales and concentrations, up to 200 mg and 100 mg mL−1, without substantial size variation. ZAP NPs with diameters of 25 nm, 50 nm, and 100 nm were loaded with the chemotherapeutic paclitaxel (PXL), demonstrated unique release profiles, and exhibited dose-dependent cytotoxicity similar to Taxol. Incorporation of d-alpha tocopheryl polyethylene glycol succinate (TPGS) and PLGA33k allowed for the production of a sub-40 nm NP with an exceptionally high loading of PXL (12.6 wt%, ca. 7 times the original NP) and a slower release profile. This ZAP NP platform demonstrated scalable, flexible, and tunable synthesis with potential toward clinical scale production of size-specific drug carriers.”