PLGA from PolySciTech used in optimizing 3D printing techniques for tissue engineering

A relatively recent and powerful tool for both manufacturing and research has been developed in 3D printing. Despite it’s advantages, 3D printing is restricted based on the polymeric material’s melt and processing properties. Recently, researchers working jointly at University of Maryland, Cornell University, and Rice University screened through a series of PLGA materials in order to define the optimal printing procedures for each. The utilized a series of PLGA’s from PolySciTech ( (PolyVivo AP039, AP137, AP076, and AP024) and optimized their printing configurations for bone-tissue engineering. This research holds promise for the capability to print biocompatible, biodegradable parts for tissue engineering and other applications. Read more at: Guo, Ting, Timothy Holzberg, Casey Lim, Feng Gao, Ankit Gargava, Jordan Trachtenberg, Antonios Mikos, and John Fisher. “3D printing PLGA: a quantitative examination of the effects of polymer composition and printing parameters on print resolution.” Biofabrication (2017).

“Abstract: In the past few decades, 3D printing has played a significant role in fabricating scaffolds with consistent, complex structure that meets patient-specific needs in future clinical applications. Although many studies have contributed to this emerging field of additive manufacturing, which includes material development and computer-aided scaffold design, current quantitative analyses do not correlate material properties, printing parameters, and printing outcomes to a great extent. A model that correlates these properties has tremendous potential to standardize 3D printing for tissue engineering and biomaterial science. In this study, we printed poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) utilizing a direct melt extrusion technique without additional ingredients. We investigated PLGA with various lactic acid:glycolic acid (LA:GA) molecular weight ratios and end caps to demonstrate the dependence of the extrusion process on the polymer composition. Micro-computed tomography (microCT) was then used to evaluate printed scaffolds containing different LA:GA ratios, composed of different fiber patterns, and processed under different printing conditions. We built a statistical model to reveal the correlation and predominant factors that determine printing precision. Our model showed a strong linear relationship between the actual and predicted precision under different combinations of printing conditions and material compositions. This quantitative examination establishes a significant foreground to 3D print biomaterials following a systematic fabrication procedure. Additionally, our proposed statistical models can be applied to couple specific biomaterials and 3D printing applications for patient implants with particular requirements.”

PLGA-PEG-COOH from PolySciTech used in development of ultra-sound triggered breast cancer theranostic nanoparticles

One of the goals within controlled delivery is to provide for targeted medicinal delivery in which the medicine is guided to the site that it is needed in by natural processes. More specifically, in cancer, there is a need to delivery nanoparticles to the tumor site for both therapy (medicinal delivery) as well as diagnosis (contrast agent delivery). Recently, researchers at Chongqing Medical University (China) used PolySciTech ( product PLGA-PEG-COOH (PolyVivo AI056) and conjugated on Herceptin (antibody which conjugates to breast cancer tumors) to target it towards breast cancer cells. They formulated these with both contrast agents and chemotherapeutic paclitaxel. This research holds promise for improved breast-cancer therapy. Read more: Song, Weixiang, Yindeng Luo, Yajing Zhao, Xinjie Liu, Jiannong Zhao, Jie Luo, Qunxia Zhang, Haitao Ran, Zhigang Wang, and Dajing Guo. “Magnetic nanobubbles with potential for targeted drug delivery and trimodal imaging in breast cancer: an in vitro study.” Nanomedicine 0 (2017).

“Aim: The aim of this study was to improve tumor-targeted therapy for breast cancer by designing magnetic nanobubbles with the potential for targeted drug delivery and multimodal imaging. Materials & methods: Herceptin-decorated and ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO)/paclitaxel (PTX)-embedded nanobubbles (PTX-USPIO-HER-NBs) were manufactured by combining a modified double-emulsion evaporation process with carbodiimide technique. PTX-USPIO-HER-NBs were examined for characterization, specific cell-targeting ability and multimodal imaging. Results: PTX-USPIO-HER-NBs exhibited excellent entrapment efficiency of Herceptin/PTX/USPIO and showed greater cytotoxic effects than other delivery platforms. Low-frequency ultrasound triggered accelerated PTX release. Moreover, the magnetic nanobubbles were able to enhance ultrasound, magnetic resonance and photoacoustics trimodal imaging. Conclusion: These results suggest that PTX-USPIO-HER-NBs have potential as a multimodal contrast agent and as a system for ultrasound-triggered drug release in breast cancer.”

PolySciTech mPEG-PLGA and PLGA-Rhodamine products used in development of advanced chemoradiotherapy delivery system

Chemoradiotherapy is a cancer therapy technique in which a sensitizer molecule is administered to a patient prior to administration of a dose of radiation. Typically, such a technique is made difficult as the sensitizer molecule can affect both tumor tissue and normal tissue, causing more damage from radiation. However, with the application of localized-delivery to the tumor, this technique holds great potential for cancer therapy by allowing specific and selective destruction of tumor tissue at a relatively lower dose of radiation.  Recently, researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill utilized PolySciTech ( mPEG-PLGA’s (PolyVivo AK010, AK023) and fluorescently-tagged polymer PLGA-rhodamine B (PolyVivo AV011) for development of an advanced nanoparticle delivery system for Wortmannin (DNA-PK inhibitor) or novel KU60019 (ATM inhibitor) molecules. Both of these molecules act to increase local radiation damage to tumors by preventing DNA repair. The researchers found that smaller particles were more effective at avoiding hepatic clearance but medium sized particles showed more efficacy for sensitization. This research holds promise for enhanced cancer treatment techniques. Read more: Caster, Joseph M., K. Yu Stephanie, Artish N. Patel, Nicole J. Newman, Zachary J. Lee, Samuel B. Warner, Kyle T. Wagner et al. “Effect of particle size on the biodistribution, toxicity, and efficacy of drug-loaded polymeric nanoparticles in chemoradiotherapy.” Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine (2017).

“Abstract: Nanoparticle (NP) therapeutics can improve the therapeutic index of chemoradiotherapy (CRT). However, the effect of NP physical properties, such particle size, on CRT is unknown. To address this, we examined the effects of NP size on biodistribution, efficacy and toxicity in CRT. PEG-PLGA NPs (50, 100, 150 nm mean diameters) encapsulating wotrmannin (wtmn) or KU50019 were formulated. These NP formulations were potent radiosensitizers in vitro in HT29, SW480, and lovo rectal cancer lines. In vivo, the smallest particles avoided hepatic and splenic accumulation while more homogeneously penetrating tumor xenografts than larger particles. However, smaller particles were no more effective in vivo. Instead, there was a trend towards enhanced efficacy with medium sized NPs. The smallest KU60019 particles caused more small bowel toxicity than larger particles. Our results showed that particle size significantly affects nanotherapeutics’ biodistrubtion and toxicity but does not support the conclusion that smaller particles are better for this clinical application. Graphical Abstract: Sub50 nm drug-loaded NPs avoid hepatic clearance and more homogeneously distribute within tumors. However, they are no more efficacious and are associated with more small bowel toxicity than larger particles. Keywords: Nanoparticle; Chemoradiotherapy; Nanoparticle radiosensitization; KU60019; Wortmannin”

Parkinson’s disease treatment developed using mPEG-PLGA block copolymer for neuroprotective agent delivery

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, neural-degenerative which affects motor control and other operations of the nervous system eventually leading to death. Schisantherin A is a recently discovered neuroprotective agent which acts to inhibit damage to neural cells and can be used to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease ( It has severe limitations, however, as it is poorly soluble in water and quickly cleared from the blood-stream.  Schisantherin A , like many neurological medicines, also faces the severe impediment of the blood-brain-barrier. This barrier which exists between circulating blood and brain tissue is intended to protect the brain from any toxic components that may be in the blood but also serves the unintentional purpose of preventing uptake of medicinal components into the brain tissue.  Recently, researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Macau utilized mPEG-PLGA to generate small-sized nanoparticles containing Schisantherin A. They found these nanoparticles to improve serum circulation longevity and uptake across the blood-brain-barrier. This research holds promise for enhanced therapy against this fatal disease. Similar block copolymers can be purchased from PolySciTech division of Akina, Inc. ( Read more about this exciting research here: Chen, Tongkai, Chuwen Li, Ye Li, Xiang Yi, Ruibing Wang, Simon Ming-Yuen Lee, and Ying Zheng. “Small-Sized mPEG–PLGA Nanoparticles of Schisantherin A with Sustained Release for Enhanced Brain Uptake and Anti-Parkinsonian Activity.” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2017).

“Schisantherin A (SA) is a promising anti-Parkinsonism natural product. However, its poor water solubility and rapid serum clearance impose significant barriers to delivery of SA to the brain. This work aimed to develop SA in a nanoparticle formulation that extended SA circulation in the bloodstream and consequently an increased brain uptake and thus to be potentially efficacious for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Spherical SA nanoparticles with a mean particle size of 70 nm were prepared by encapsulating SA into methoxy poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(d,l)-lactic-co-glycolic acid (mPEG–PLGA) nanoparticles (SA-NPs) with an encapsulation efficiency of ∼91% and drug loading of ∼28%. The in vitro release of the SA-NPs lasted for 48 h with a sustained-release pattern. Using the Madin–Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cell model, the results showed that first intact nanoparticles carrying hydrophobic dyes were internalized into cells, then the dyes were slowly released within the cells, and last both nanoparticles and free dyes were externalized to the basolateral side of the cell monolayer. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) imaging in zebrafish suggested that nanoparticles were gradually dissociated in vivo with time, and nanoparticles maintained intact in the intestine and brain at 2 h post-treatment. When SA-NPs were orally administrated to rats, much higher Cmax and AUC0-t were observed in the plasma than those of the SA suspension. Furthermore, brain delivery of SA was much more effective with SA-NPs than with SA suspension. In addition, the SA-NPs exerted strong neuroprotective effects in zebrafish and cell culture models of PD. The protective effect was partially mediated by the activation of the protein kinase B (Akt)/glycogen synthase kinase-3β (Gsk3β) pathway. In summary, this study provides evidence that small-sized mPEG–PLGA nanoparticles may improve cross-barrier transportation, oral bioavailability, brain uptake, and bioactivity of this Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS) Class II compound, SA. Keywords: brain delivery; cellular uptake; fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET); mPEG−PLGA nanoparticles; oral bioavailability; Schisantherin A”

PLGA from PolySciTech investigated for use as adjuvant in Streptococcus vaccine development

Group A Strep is highly virulent and can be deadly without proper treatment. One means to reduce Strep infections is to apply nanoparticles presenting certain portions of the bacteria’s M-protein marker to elicit an immune response against Strep. Recently, researchers at The University of Queensland and Griffith University (Australia) utilized PolySciTech ( PLGA (PolyVivo AP041) to develop a nanoparticle vaccine against strep. They utilized PLGA as well as poly(lysine) and dextran to make these nanoparticles and found a substantially higher immune response against the PLGA likely due to its negative charge. This research holds promise for the development of an effective vaccine against Strep. Read more:  Marasini, Nirmal, Ashwini Kumar Giddam, Michael R. Batzloff, Michael F. Good, Mariusz Skwarczynski, and Istvan Toth. “Poly-L-lysine-coated nanoparticles are ineffective in inducing mucosal immunity against group a streptococcus.” (2017).

“Abstract Background: Group A Streptococcus (GAS) can cause a range of maladies, from simple throat infections to lethal complication, such as rheumatic heart disease. The M-protein, a bacterial cell surface protein, is the major virulence factor of GAS. Several attempts have been made over the past few decades to develop vaccines against GAS that employed peptides derived from the M-protein. One such approach used lipopeptides or lipid core peptide (LCP) systems that incorporated a B-cell epitope derived from the conserved region of the M-protein. Methods: In the present study, we prepared different biodegradable polymer [dextran, poly-(lactic- coglycolic-acid) (PLGA), and poly-L-lysine] nanoparticles (NPs)-based delivery systems for a lipopeptide vaccine candidate (LCP-1).The NPs were characterized by their size, charge, morphology, antigen-presenting cells (APCs) uptake and subsequent APCs maturations efficacy, followed by in vivo nasal immunization in mice. Results: All produced NPs ranged in size from 100-205 nm, and their charge varied depending upon the nature of polymer. A high APCs uptake efficacy for dextran and poly-L-lysine NPswere observed, compared to PLGA NPs. Despite the high uptake by APCs, dextran and poly-L-lysine NPs failed to improve APCs maturation that resulted in low antibody titres. In contrast, while LCP-1 encapsulated into PLGA showed low APCs uptake, it induced significant maturation of DCs and higher antibody titres compared to other NPs. Conclusions: Positively-charged poly-L-lysine NPs were non-immunogenic, while negatively charged PLGA NPs induced similar responses to antigens adjuvanted with cholera toxin B (CTB). Keywords: Mucosal delivery, lipopeptides, nanoparticles, nasal, vaccine, PLGA, Poly-L-lysine”

PLGA-PEG-Maleimide from PolySciTech used in development of macular degeneration treatment

One of the causes of ocular damage which can lead to blindness is choroidal neovascularization, effectively the over-growth of new blood vessels in the back of the eye. This condition is involved in the development of age-related macular degeneration which can lead to blindness. Recently, researchers at Yantai University (China) utilized Mal-PEG-PLGA (PolyVivo AI020) from PolySciTech ( to develop RGD and TAT peptide modified nanoparticles to deliver therapeutics to ocular tissues as part of treatment of macular degeneration. This research holds promise to provide treatment for a disease which causes blindness. Read more: Chu, Yongchao, Ning Chen, Huajun Yu, Hongjie Mu, Bin He, Hongchen Hua, Aiping Wang, and Kaoxiang Sun. “Topical ocular delivery to laser-induced choroidal neovascularization by dual internalizing RGD and TAT peptide-modified nanoparticles.” International Journal of Nanomedicine 12 (2017): 1353.

“Abstract: A nanoparticle (NP) was developed to target choroidal neovascularization (CNV) via topical ocular administration. The NPs were prepared through conjugation of internalizing arginine-glycine-aspartic acid RGD (iRGD; Ac-CCRGDKGPDC) and transactivated transcription (TAT) (RKKRRQRRRC) peptide to polymerized ethylene glycol and lactic-co-glycolic acid. The iRGD sequence can specifically bind with integrin αvβ3, while TAT facilitates penetration through the ocular barrier. 1H nuclear magnetic resonance and high-performance liquid chromatography demonstrated that up to 80% of iRGD and TAT were conjugated to poly(ethylene glycol)– poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid). The resulting particle size was 67.0±1.7 nm, and the zeta potential of the particles was −6.63±0.43 mV. The corneal permeation of iRGD and TAT NPs increased by 5.50- and 4.56-fold compared to that of bare and iRGD-modified NPs, respectively. Cellular uptake showed that the red fluorescence intensity of iRGD and TAT NPs was highest among primary NPs and iRGD- or TAT-modified NPs. CNV was fully formed 14 days after photocoagulation in Brown Norway (BN) rats as shown by optical coherence tomography and fundus fluorescein angiography analyses. Choroidal flat mounts in BN rats showed that the red fluorescence intensity of NPs followed the order of iRGD and TAT NPs > TAT-modified NPs > iRGD-modified NPs > primary NPs. iRGD and TAT dual-modified NPs thus displayed significant targeting and penetration ability both in vitro and in vivo, indicating that it is a promising drug delivery system for managing CNV via topical ocular administration. Keywords: nanoparticles, ocular drug delivery, choroidal neovascularization, RGD, cell-penetrating peptides. Method for iRGD Conjugation: Briefly, Mal–PEG–PLGA was dissolved in acetone and the organic solvent then evaporated, dispersing the solute evenly on the flask wall. The flask was replenished with 0.01 M phosphate-buffered saline (PBS, pH 7.4) and left overnight to react with iRGD. The iRGD was conjugated to Mal–PEG–PLGA (at 4°C, at a 1:1 molar ratio of peptide to Mal–PEG–PLGA).”

End-of-Grant promo, Gamma sterilization, and Carbonate buffer technical notes

The PolySciTech division of Akina, Inc. ( provides a wide array of biodegradable polymers and other research supplies. March ends the fiscal quarter for several institutions and grants which is why we are having a special end-of-quarter promotion. Orders between $100-250 receive a free drink-coozy, orders $250-500 receive a free string-backpack and orders >$500 receive a free PolySciTech T-shirt. As manager of Akina, I receive technical questions and sometimes I receive the same ones quite often. Often, I receive questions about gamma sterilizing our products. Our experience has been, however, that it is common for ionizing radiation techniques such as this to cause some degradation and cross-linking of polyesters which can change their mechanical properties (tend to become brittle) and their solubility properties (may become insoluble). This is similar to literature reports for the effects of radiation on polymers (, One way to reduce this damage is to perform the radiation dosing in an inert gas (argon or nitrogen). We’ve found this reduces some of the reactions which require the participation of atmospheric oxygen, humidity, or other gasses. Alternatively, depending on your application, it may be worthwhile to investigate alternate sterilization techniques such as ethylene oxide exposure. Another issue which has recently come up is the dissolution of thermogelling polymers (PLGA-PEG-PLGA, PLCL-PEG-PLCL) in specific buffers. Thermogel polymers of this category represent a balance between the hydrophilic attractions of the PEG block to water molecules and the hydrophobic attractions of the polyester blocks to each other. Species dissolved in the water which interfere with the water attractions can affect the performance of these thermogels. Although these work well in water, phosphate and several other buffers, they do not work well in carbonate buffers. Likely, this is due to the effects of carbonate species on water’s hydrogen bonding properties ( Poor solubility of these thermogels has been reported in carbonate buffers and avoidance of carbonate buffer is suggested for these materials.

Thermogel PLGA-PEG-PLGA from PolySciTech used in development of minimally invasive liver-cancer microwave ablation therapy


Recently, researchers have developed improvements in the localization and effectiveness of Microwave Ablation therapy by combining PolySciTech Division of Akina, Inc. ( thermogelling product (PLGA-PEG-PLGA PolyVivo, Cat# AK088) with non-radioactive Cesium chloride to create an injectable thermal accelerant. This research holds promise for improved ablation treatment of liver cancer.  Read more: Park, William Keun Chan, Aaron Wilhelm Palmer Maxwell, Victoria Elizabeth Frank, Michael Patrick Primmer, Scott Andrew Collins, Grayson Luderman Baird, and Damian Edward Dupuy. “Evaluation of A Novel Thermal Accelerant For Augmentation Of Microwave Energy During Image-guided Tumor Ablation.” Theranostics, in print (2017).

“The primary challenge in thermal ablation of liver tumors (e.g. hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatic colorectal cancer) is the relatively high recurrence rate (~30%) for which incomplete ablation at the periphery of the tumor is the most common reason. In an attempt to overcome this, we have developed a novel thermal accelerant (TA) agent capable of augmenting microwave energy from a distance normally unattainable by a single microwave ablation antenna. This cesium-based block co-polymer compound transforms from a liquid to a gel at body temperature and is intrinsically visible by computed tomography. Using an agarose phantom model, herein we demonstrate that both the rate and magnitude of temperature increase during microwave ablation were significantly greater in the presence of TA when compared with controls. These results suggest robust augmentation of microwave energy, and may translate into larger ablation zone volumes within biologic tissues. Further work using in vivo techniques is necessary to confirm these findings. Key words: Image-guided thermal ablation, microwave ablation, thermal accelerant, augmentation of microwave energy, non-radioactive cesium chloride, block-co-polymer, PLGA-PEG-PLGA, dipole moment, complex dielectric permittivity, dielectric constant, loss factor.”

New whitepaper on thermogelling PLCL-PEG-PLCL aqueous storage stability as a ready-to-go solution

PolySciTech division of Akina, Inc ( provides a wide array of biodegradable polymers. One class of these is thermogelling polymers which can dissolve in cold water and then form into a solid gel once the water is warmed above the LCST. In some situations, one may want to dissolve the polymer in an aqeous solution and then store it in this ready-to-go condition for some time prior to use. As these polymers are hydrolysable, there is a finite span of time that this gel solution can be stored. Recently, accelerated degradation testing was performed using PLCL-PEG-PLCL PolyVivo AK109. The PLCL blocks provide for slower degradation as compared with PLGA blocks and this study was designed to see how long these thermogels can be store. You can see more on this here (

mPEG-PLA from PolySciTech used as part of SPION-methicillin loaded nanoparticle development for eradication of drug-resistant bacterial biofilms

There is increasing prevalence of bacterial resistance towards antibiotics due to genetic as well as structural changes. Notably, certain types of bacteria tend to form into tight biofilms which are surrounded by a protective matrix that reduces antibiotic infiltration. These biofilms can be up to 1000 times more resistant towards conventional antibiotics than loose bacteria and account for up to 60% of all infectious diseases in the western world. Recently, researchers at Northeastern University utilized mPEG-PLA (PolyVivo cat# AK021) from PolySciTech division of Akina, Inc. ( to co-encapsulate iron-oxide particles and methicillin inside polymeric nanoparticles. They discovered that these nanoparticles, under a magnetic field, were able to penetrate deep into staph-bacteria biofilms and kill the bacteria, while having no toxicity towards mammalian cells. This research holds promise for providing advanced treatment options of drug-resistant bacteria and infections at medical implant surfaces. Read more: Geilich, Benjamin M., Ilia Gelfat, Srinivas Sridhar, Anne L. van de Ven, and Thomas J. Webster. “Superparamagnetic iron oxide-encapsulating polymersome nanocarriers for biofilm eradication.” Biomaterials 119 (2017): 78-85.

“Abstract: The rising prevalence and severity of antibiotic-resistant biofilm infections poses an alarming threat to public health worldwide. Here, biocompatible multi-compartment nanocarriers were synthesized to contain both hydrophobic superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) and the hydrophilic antibiotic methicillin for the treatment of medical device-associated infections. SPION co-encapsulation was found to confer unique properties, enhancing both nanocarrier relaxivity and magneticity compared to individual SPIONs. These iron oxide-encapsulating polymersomes (IOPs) penetrated 20 μm thick Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms with high efficiency following the application of an external magnetic field. Three-dimensional laser scanning confocal microscopy revealed differential bacteria death as a function of drug and SPION loading. Complete eradication of all bacteria throughout the biofilm thickness was achieved using an optimized IOP formulation containing 40 μg/mL SPION and 20 μg/mL of methicillin. Importantly, this formulation was selectively toxic towards methicillin-resistant biofilm cells but not towards mammalian cells. These novel iron oxide-encapsulating polymersomes demonstrate that it is possible to overcome antibiotic-resistant biofilms by controlling the positioning of nanocarriers containing two or more therapeutics. Keywords: Biofilm; Polymersome; SPION; Staphylococcus epidermidis; Antibiotic-resistance; Nanomedicine”