A single microfluidic chip with dual surface properties for protein drug delivery

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Principles of double emulsion generation were incorporated in a glass microfluidic chip fabricated with two different surface properties in order to produce protein loaded polymer microspheres. The microspheres were produced by integrating two microfluidic flow focusing systems and a multi-step droplet splitting and mixing system into one chip. The chip consists of a hydrophobic and a hydrophilic section with two different heights, 12 μm and 45 μm, respectively. As a result, the protein is homogenously distributed throughout the polymer microsphere matrix, not just in its center (which has been studied before). In our work, the inner phase was bovine serum albumin (BSA) in phosphate buffered saline, the disperse phase was poly (lactic acid) in chloroform and the continuous phase was an aqueous solution of poly(vinyl alcohol). After solvent removal, BSA loaded microspheres with an encapsulation efficiency of up to 96% were obtained. Our results show the feasibility of producing microspheres loaded with a hydrophilic drug in a microfluidic system that integrates different microfluidic units into one chip.

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