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Preparation of Drug-Loaded PLGA-PEG Nanoparticles by Membrane-Assisted Nanoprecipitation

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The aim of this work is to develop a scalable continuous system suitable for the formulation of polymeric nanoparticles using membrane-assisted nanoprecipitation. One of the hurdles to overcome in the use of nanostructured materials as drug delivery vectors is their availability at industrial scale. Innovation in process technology is required to translate laboratory production into mass production while preserving their desired nanoscale characteristics.


Membrane-assisted nanoprecipitation has been used for the production of Poly[(D,L lactide-co-glycolide)-co-poly ethylene glycol] diblock) (PLGA-PEG) nanoparticles using a pulsed back-and-forward flow arrangement. Tubular Shirasu porous glass membranes (SPG) with pore diameters of 1 and 0.2 μm were used to control the mixing process during the nanoprecipitation reaction.


The size of the resulting PLGA-PEG nanoparticles could be readily tuned in the range from 250 to 400 nm with high homogeneity (PDI lower than 0.2) by controlling the dispersed phase volume/continuous phase volume ratio. Dexamethasone was successfully encapsulated in a continuous process, achieving an encapsulation efficiency and drug loading efficiency of 50% and 5%, respectively. The dexamethasone was released from the nanoparticles following Fickian kinetics.


The method allowed to produce polymeric nanoparticles for drug delivery with a high productivity, reproducibility and easy scalability.

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Continuous phase




Drug loading efficiency


Dispersed phase


Encapsulation efficiency


Membrane-assisted nanoprecipitacion




Nanoprecipitation in a stirred batch-type reactor


Polydispersity index


Poly ethylene glycol


Glycolic acids


Lactic acid


Poly[(D,L lactide-co-glycolide)-co-poly ethylene glycol] diblock


Scanning Electron Microscopy


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Acknowledgements and Disclosures

The People Program (CIG-Marie Curie Actions, REA grant agreement no. 321642) and the ERC Consolidator Grant program (ERC-2013-CoG-614,715, NANOHEDONISM), the Government of Aragon and the European Social Fund are gratefully acknowledged. CIBER-BBN is an initiative funded by the VI National R&D&i Plan 2008–2011 financed by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III with the assistance of the European Regional Development Fund. Program Erasmus Mundus Doctorate in Membrane Engineering-EUDIME (2011–0014) is grate fully acknowledged. The authors acknowledge the European Union, FESR, MIUR, MSE for the financial support to the project PON Olio Più - PON01_01545, within the framework PON Ricerca e Competitività 2007–2013.

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Correspondence to Emma Piacentini or Victor Sebastian.

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Albisa, A., Piacentini, E., Sebastian, V. et al. Preparation of Drug-Loaded PLGA-PEG Nanoparticles by Membrane-Assisted Nanoprecipitation. Pharm Res 34, 1296–1308 (2017).

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