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AAPS PharmSciTech. 2014 Jun;15(3):762-71. doi: 10.1208/s12249-014-0099-6. Epub 2014 Apr 2.

Particle margination and its implications on intravenous anticancer drug delivery.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA.


"Margination" refers to the movement of particles in flow toward the walls of a channel. The term was first coined in physiology for describing the behavior of white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets in blood flow. The margination of particles is desirable for anticancer drug delivery because it results in the close proximity of drug-carrying particles to the endothelium, where they can easily diffuse into cancerous tumors through the leaky vasculature. Understanding the fundamentals of margination may further lead to the rational design of particles and allow for more specific delivery of anticancer drugs into tumors, thereby increasing patient comfort during cancer treatment. This paper reviews existing theoretical and experimental studies that focus on understanding margination. Margination is a complex phenomenon that depends on the interplay between inertial, hydrodynamic, electrostatic, lift, van der Waals, and Brownian forces. Parameters that have been explored thus far include the particle size, shape, density, stiffness, shear rate, and the concentration and aggregation state of red blood cells (RBCs). Many studies suggested that there exists an optimal particle size for margination to occur, and that nonspherical particles tend to marginate better than spherical particles. There are, however, conflicting views on the effects of particle density, stiffness, shear rate, and RBCs. The limitations of using the adhesion of particles to the channel walls in order to quantify margination propensity are explained, and some outstanding questions for future research are highlighted.

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