Nanoparticle tracking system characterises polymer nanoparticles used as drug carriers


Used by a team at Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany

NanoSight’s Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) is being used to help with the characterisation of polymeric nanoparticles synthesised as drug carrier systems by a team at Saarland University, Saarbrücken in Germany.

NTA detects and visualises populations of nanoparticles in liquids down to 10nm, dependent on material, and measures the size of each particle from direct observations of diffusion. It also measures concentration and a fluorescence mode differentiates suitably labelled particles within complex background suspensions. Zeta potential measurements are similarly particle-specific.

NanoSight says it is this particle-by-particle methodology that takes NTA beyond traditional light scattering and other ensemble techniques.

The company says this simultaneous multiparameter characterisation has wide application in the development of drug delivery systems, of viral vaccines, and in nanotoxicology. The real-time data gives insight into the kinetics of protein aggregation and other time-dependent phenomena in a qualitative and quantitative manner.

The fact that the system is performing particle-by-particle-based measurements is a huge advantage

Dr Christian Ruge, a research scientist in the Department of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, and his colleagues at Saarland University are using NTA as a complementary tool to a Malvern Zetasizer to characterise the nanoparticles that he has prepared. The particles are mainly polymer-based and typically range in size from 100nm to 400nm. The group is using the NanoSight system to measure the preparations to identify particle populations that are not resolved by the Malvern system.

Dr Ruge said the NTA system has many benefits over techniques such as scanning electron microscopy or dynamic light scattering.

‘The fact that the system is performing particle-by-particle-based measurements is a huge advantage, especially in terms of its resolving power. The fact that the instrument gives a concentration value is very useful. I feel that ‘visualisation’ of the particles based on their scattered light gives more ‘insight’ as to the sample and its behaviour.’

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NanoSight has installed more than 500 systems worldwide with users including BASF, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Roche and Unilever together with many universities and research institutes.