Microfluidics enables reliable siRNA drug delivery for inflammatory diseases and tumor targeting


Researchers in the Department of Pharmacy at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich are using chips from Dolomite Microfluidics to reliably and consistently produce monodisperse particles for targeted delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics. This microfluidic encapsulation technology is ideal for gene silencing applications in cancer immunology and inflammatory diseases, where siRNA can potentially be used to down-regulate genes associated with these pathologies. Prof. Dr Olivia Merkel, Professor of Drug Delivery, explained: “Nanoencapsulation is a highly efficient way to deliver siRNA to targets across the cellular membrane, protecting it from degradation prior to endocytosis. It is important to deliver the therapy in a controlled and reproducible manner; the particle size has a huge impact on in vivo work, affecting the rate of uptake and clearance.”


Prof Olivia Merkel and colleague; siRNA drug delivery

Prof. Dr Olivia Merkel with her colleague.


“Previously, we produced our nanoparticles manually, which was both time consuming and uncontrolled, and resulted in a range of particle diameters. We needed a solution to overcome this challenge and, in 2017, discovered Dolomite Microfluidics. We’ve been using Dolomite chips ever since, consistently downsizing our particles from around 200 to 100 nanometers and below. Our batch-to-batch reproducibility has improved immensely, and we are confident that the nanoparticles we prepare will have low polydispersity and be the optimal size for our work, which is important. We are very pleased with what we have achieved so far using the Dolomite chips, and are excited about what we still have to come.”


  1. Feldmann, D. P., Heyza, J., Zimmermann, C. M., Patrick, S. M., & Merkel, O. M. (2020) Nanoparticle-Mediated Gene Silencing for Sensitization of Lung Cancer to Cisplatin TherapyMolecules25(8), 1994.
  2. Feldmann, D. P., Jones, S., Douglas, K., Shields, A. F., & Merkel, O. M. (2019) Microfluidic Assembly of siRNA-Loaded Micelleplexes for Tumor Targeting in an Orthotopic Model of Ovarian CancerMethods Mol Biol, 1974:355-369.
  3. Feldmann, D. P., Xie, Y., Jones, S. K., Yu, D., Moszczynska, A., & Merkel, O. M. (2017) The impact of microfluidic mixing of triblock micelleplexes on in vitro in vivo gene silencing and intracellular traffickingNanotechnology28(22), 224001.


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