NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 B2.03-9148
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Understanding and Utilizing Gravitational Effects on Molecular Biology and for Medical Applications
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Nanodroplet Processor for Advanced Microencapsulated Drug Formulations

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nanotrope, Inc.
2033 Cambridge Ave
Cardiff, CA 92007-1707

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Donald Ackley
2033 Cambridge Ave
Cardiff, CA 92007-1707

The objective of this proposal is to provide a demonstration of a nanodroplet synthesis of multifunctional liposomes for drug delivery based on immiscible microfluidics processing. In this initial study, the functionality of the liposomes will include (1) the surface functionalized particles for targeting specific cells and (2) the protected packaging of protein therapeutics that may be released upon specific binding of the liposome to a targeted cell. This goal will be accomplished using nanodroplet technology that exploits the properties of immiscible fluids to transform continuous fluid streams into highly monodispersed, isolated droplets with tight control of droplet size and generation rate. The nanoparticles are formed at room temperature with low pressure and shear forces to prevent the denaturation of protein drugs, which will be important for the treatment of major diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Since cells rapidly uptake nanoparticles with sizes less than 500 nm, the major objective for this proposal is demonstrate highly monodisperse particles in this regime. Furthermore, we anticipate that producing such particles in a microgravity environment will lead to an improved fundamental understanding of droplet formation itself and to the production of homogeneously distributed therapeutics in a perfectly spherical nano-particle.

Potential NASA applications for the nanodroplet technology are for space medicine. The need for highly effective therapeutics and neutriceuticals are important for astronaut health, especially on long duration missions. Such a technology would provide an individualized approach to space medicine that is tailored to each crew member. The prospects of a technology that is capable of programmable drug dosage 'on-the-fly' that may be readily integrated into a drug delivery platform would be an attractive approach for preventative and high performance measures. The nanodroplet technology may be utilized for treating illnesses, traumatic events and psychological disorders on long term missions.

The Nanotrope targeted drug particles have the potential to successfully target drugs to specific cells in the human body with a high success rate. The technology provides a compact device that is capable of titrating particle compositions on demand, which can allow specific protocols for individual patients to be used, according to the response to initial treatment. In addition, the drug particles are delivered using inexpensive microfluidic devices that are readily adapted to conventional devices such as syringes or inhalers. Thus, we anticipate the facilitated integration of our on-demand, monodisperse drug formulation technology with a reduced time to market.