Nanoparticle Characterization Crucial for Developers of Drug Delivery Systems

Nanoparticle characterization using the Zetasizer Nano from Malvern Instruments is providing essential information for researchers working on drug delivery systems at the UK’s newest School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The new school, which opened in September 2007, is part of the University of Central Lancashire. It is developing a multi-disciplinary approach to research, focusing on important areas of pharmaceutical sciences and practice. One such is pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical analysis where research teams are working with a range of colloidal systems for drug delivery, including microspheres, aerosols and dendrimers.

The Malvern Zetasizer Nano partticle sizing instrument.

Prof. Antony D’Emanuele, Chair in Pharmaceutics and Head of the School, leads the Dendrimer Group, whose work centres on the development of nanocarriers for a number of pharmaceutical and biomedical applications. Dendrimers are well-defined and effectively monodisperse, highly branched molecules possessing an architecture that allows control over properties such as shape, size, density, polarity, reactivity and solubility. Their surface groups are amenable to modification and can be tailored for specific applications.

“As part of our work we are developing a range of nanocarriers for oral drug delivery,” said Prof. D’Emanuele. “It is here that the Zetasizer Nano has proved especially useful in allowing us to characterize surface engineered dendrimers intended for this purpose. We are able to monitor changes in size as we modify the surface of our dendrimers and also determine whether our carriers aggregate.”

The Zetasizer Nano simplifies the automated measurement of particle size, stability characterization using zeta potential, and molecular weight, for a wide range of dispersions, emulsions and molecules in solution. Sensitive enough for the measurement of solutions of proteins and polymers, yet able to measure at high concentrations, it is now the method of choice for nano-particle applications from routine colloid size measurement to the investigation of particulates at the leading edge of materials research.

Particle size measurement is in the range 0.6 to 6000 nm, molecular weight measurement from 1 x 103 to 2 x 107 Daltons, and zeta potential of particles from 5 nm to 10 µm.

The new School has a suite of particle sizing equipment which also includes Malvern Spraytec and Mastersizer systems.

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