Rapid Production of Nanoscale Liposomes Using a 3D-Printed Reactor-In-A-Centrifuge: Formulation, Characterisation, and Super-Resolution Imaging
He Y., Grandi DD., Chandradoss S., LuTheryn G., Cidonio G., Nunes Bastos R., Pereno V., Carugo D.
Nanoscale liposomes have been extensively researched and employed clinically for the delivery of biologically active compounds, including chemotherapy drugs and vaccines, offering improved pharmacokinetic behaviour and therapeutic outcomes. Traditional laboratory-scale production methods often suffer from limited control over liposome properties (e.g., size and lamellarity) and rely on laborious multistep procedures, which may limit pre-clinical research developments and innovation in this area. The widespread adoption of alternative, more controllable microfluidic-based methods is often hindered by complexities and costs associated with device manufacturing and operation, as well as the short device lifetime and the relatively low liposome production rates in some cases. In this study, we demonstrated the production of liposomes comprising therapeutically relevant lipid formulations, using a cost-effective 3D-printed reactor-in-a-centrifuge (RIAC) device. By adjusting formulation- and production-related parameters, including the concentration of polyethylene glycol (PEG), temperature, centrifugation time and speed, and lipid concentration, the mean size of the produced liposomes could be tuned in the range of 140 to 200 nm. By combining selected experimental parameters, the method was capable of producing liposomes with a therapeutically relevant mean size of ~174 nm with narrow size distribution (polydispersity index, PDI ~0.1) at a production rate of >8 mg/min. The flow-through method proposed in this study has potential to become an effective and versatile laboratory-scale approach to simplify the synthesis of therapeutic liposomal formulations.