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Polymeric Hybrid Microstructures for Smart Targeting and Drug Delivery

A. Dudia, J.S. Kanger and V. Subramaniam
University of Twente, NL

Keywords:
artificial cell, polystyrene microcapsules, nanofabrication, biomimetic

Abstract:
Artificial cells (AC) refer to (sub) micro-vehicles that can perform a specific bio-function in the body, without being rejected from the immune system. Such smart targeting and drug delivery systems are aimed for use in medicine, studying fundamental biological processes, diagnostics, etc. Our approach of a hybrid AC consists of a non-biological and impermeable scaffold (i.e. polystyrene) combined with an artificial lipid membrane where functional bio-molecules will be implemented. Implementation of biomolecular motors such as ATPase is the first goal of our work. Here we report on the fabrication and loading of the scaffold and the functionalization of the AC. Single nanoholes are introduced in the polystyrene micro scaffolds in a controlled way by using a focused ion beam. Hydrophilic solution is loaded in these hydrophobic scaffolds via nanoholes. In addition, artificial bilayer lipid membranes are deposited on a surface in a controlled way by manipulating unilamellar vesicles with optical tweezers and collapsing them on a surface. The thickness of the membrane patch is characterized using atomic force microscopy. In the near future we will functionalize the AC by incorporating biomolecules in the lipid membrane patch that separates the interior of the AC to the surrounding medium.

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