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Nat Nanotechnol. 2012 Oct;7(10):623-9. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2012.168.

Microfluidic technologies for accelerating the clinical translation of nanoparticles.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Using nanoparticles for therapy and imaging holds tremendous promise for the treatment of major diseases such as cancer. However, their translation into the clinic has been slow because it remains difficult to produce nanoparticles that are consistent 'batch-to-batch', and in sufficient quantities for clinical research. Moreover, platforms for rapid screening of nanoparticles are still lacking. Recent microfluidic technologies can tackle some of these issues, and offer a way to accelerate the clinical translation of nanoparticles. In this Progress Article, we highlight the advances in microfluidic systems that can synthesize libraries of nanoparticles in a well-controlled, reproducible and high-throughput manner. We also discuss the use of microfluidics for rapidly evaluating nanoparticles in vitro under microenvironments that mimic the in vivo conditions. Furthermore, we highlight some systems that can manipulate small organisms, which could be used for evaluating the in vivo toxicity of nanoparticles or for drug screening. We conclude with a critical assessment of the near- and long-term impact of microfluidics in the field of nanomedicine.

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