via University of Cincinnati
UC’s novel applications of a technology called electrospinning could improve contraceptive products and help patients with brain tumors
When you visit Andrew Steckl’s lab at the University of Cincinnati, you see a nondescript glass box that weaves together different fibers.
He sees endless possibility.
Steckl’s lab is coming up with new applications for a fabrication process called coaxial electrospinning, which combines two or more materials into a fine fiber for use in industry, textiles or even medicine. The machine pumps two or more liquid polymers into a nozzle that drips like a leaky faucet. Once electric voltage is applied, the drip turns into a spiderweb-fine jet composed of a core of one material surrounded by a sheath of another.
“It looks deceptively simple. But the chemistry is the secret sauce,” he said.
This kind of innovation is a key component of the university’s strategic direction, Next Lives Here.
Steckl is an Ohio Eminent Scholar and professor in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. His latest study, published this month on the cover of the journal ChemPlusChem, outlined the many applications of a manufacturing process that combines the amazing properties of one material with the powerful benefits of another.
Electrospinning was invented in 1902 and was first applied to textiles in the 1930s, according to the study. But only now are researchers realizing its full potential, Steckl said. His Nanoelectronics Laboratory has been preoccupied with new combinations of “ingredients” to take advantage of their unique benefits.
“The beauty is you can have combinations of polymers with properties you don’t normally find in nature,” Steckl said.
He has spent much of the past decade investigating the vast potential of electrospinning.
“This is the best thing since sliced bread — not that I like sliced bread,” the marathon runner said.
For example, researchers can combine a stiff core surrounded by soft, flexible or adhesive material. Or they can create a water-resistant shell surrounding a compound that dissolves quickly in water.
“Or you could put drug molecules on the inside for a treatment surrounded by pain-relief molecules on the outside,” he said.
This is the best thing since sliced bread — not that I like sliced bread.
Andrew Steckl,Ohio Eminent Scholar and UC engineering professor
One drawback has been producing enough material for commercial use. But dozens of companies in the United States and around the world are coming up with large-scale production systems for electrospun fibers. Steckl is working with research partners at UC and other research universities to explore the possibilities.
He and former UC College of Pharmacy professor Giovanni Pauletti want to create more effective contraception using coaxial electrospinning. Pauletti now teaches at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
The electrospun fiber would be a tampon-like application used to trap and kill sperm. Another version could release anti-infective drugs to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, Pauletti said.
“Our preliminary results are encouraging, enough so that our National Institutes of Health proposal has been approved for a five-year study,” Steckl said.
Steckl said they hope to prove the device is both easier to use and more effective than other sponge-type contraception.
“That’s what the NIH program will confirm,” Steckl said.
Pauletti said besides technical skills, Steckl has a natural gift to bring together people from different scientific backgrounds for a common research goal.
“One of my greatest pleasures is working across disciplines for the benefit of patients,” Pauletti said. “I love to work with him. He is always open to new ideas.”
Steckl also is working with researchers from Johns Hopkins University to replace traditional chemotherapy with localized treatment of brain tumors called glioblastoma.
“Chemotherapy essentially is whole-body treatment. The treatment has to get through the blood-brain barrier, which means the whole-body dose you get must be much higher,” Steckl said. “This can be dangerous and have toxic side effects.”
Steckl and research partners Dr. Henry Brem and Betty Tyler at Johns Hopkins University are pioneering a treatment in which the glioblastoma lesion is removed and a coaxial electrospun capsule is applied to administer the medicine locally over days or weeks. Brem and Tyler previously developed a treatment wafer called Gliadel in 2003 for glioblastoma.
Tyler, who manages the Hunterian Neurosurgical Laboratory at Johns Hopkins, said implanting the Gliadel wafer loaded with chemotherapy at the site of the removed lesion applies medicine where it’s needed most at a concentration that would be difficult to achieve otherwise without exposing a patient to a toxic dose.
“Our laboratory continues to try new targeted methods of delivery, new delivery formulations and new models to increase the beneficial effects,” she said.
So far, Steckl said, animal trials have shown that electrospun fibers provide even better results because surgeons can apply different combinations of treatments that deliver medicine for the desired duration.
“Dr. Steckl’s unique electrospun formulation was appealing to us for multiple reasons,” Tyler said. “It has the capability to slowly release its payload, it’s biocompatible and multiple drugs can be loaded and released from it.”
Tyler said they plan to apply electrospinning to other FDA-approved drugs in unique combinations for the treatment of brain tumors.
“Our hope is to deliver these agents using Dr. Steckl’s technology to ultimately increase therapeutic options for patients with brain tumors,” Tyler said.
Steckl said the large surface area and custom properties of the fibers make them an ideal drug-delivery system. For example, patients who have to take drugs multiple times per day for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease might be able to take a single long-acting dose made from electrospun medicines.
“The problem is you may remember your morning dose, but you might forget your afternoon dose,” he said. “Should I take another one? Did I take three today? A single longer-lasting dose is a lot simpler.”
Steckl said researchers are creating electrospun medicines with fibers that only dissolve at a particular acidity in the digestive system. This could delay or extend the release of the active ingredients.
UC senior research associate Daewoo Han, lead author of the ChemPlusChem study, said electrospinning has been used to create versatile nanofibers. Besides medicine, the latest applications include advanced batteries.
“There are unlimited opportunities of collaborations in different disciplines, leading to excellent multidisciplinary research projects,” Han said. “I am very excited about collaborating with experts in other fields and institutes.”
Han said he has enjoyed working in Steckl’s Nanoelectronics Laboratory.
“He is always willing to interact with his students and support them aggressively,” Han said. “He is not only dedicated to current research but also enjoys pursuing new research topics.”
While UC’s research group is not the first to study electrospun fibers, it is producing big results, Steckl said.
“We’ve broadened the field enormously. We’re one of the top research groups in the world working on coaxial electrospinning. It’s been great fun,” he said.
We take our curiosity where it leads us.
Andre Steckl, UC engineering professor
How does an electrical engineer with no medical background come up with novel solutions in some of medicine’s most complex disciplines such as neurosurgery? Steckl said he has a collaborative spirit and a fearlessness to pursue questions far afield from engineering.
“We take our curiosity where it leads us,” he said.
Steckl has investigated lab-on-a-chip microelectronics, microfluidics and sensors, among other topics in his Nanoelectronics Laboratory. He has co-authored nearly 500 papers that appeared in engineering journals but also in some of the most prestigious journals of physics, chemistry and technology.
And he has always been interested in improving medical devices, he said.
“If you want to solve a problem, frequently it will require more than one discipline,” he said. “So we’ve worked with the UC College of Pharmacy and the UC College of Medicine, the departments of physics, chemistry and biology. Our mindset is: Is this an important research topic?”
Learn more: UC engineer spins web of medical innovation
The Latest Google Headlines on:
The Latest Bing News on:
- P. J. Ponce de Leonon May 24, 2022 at 12:08 am
Biography Philip Ponce de Leon received the B.S. degree in Physics from New York University, New York, NY, and the B.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Stevens Institute ...
- Rational Design of Nanofiber Scaffolds for Orthopedic Tissue Repair and Regenerationon May 3, 2022 at 5:00 pm
By contrast, electrospinning can be used to generate nanofiber assemblies for mimicking the special fiber organizations in musculoskeletal tissues. Therefore, electrospun nanofiber scaffolds are ...
- Machine Spins Nanofibers in Industrial Quantitieson May 1, 2022 at 5:01 pm
A rotating cylinder, in lieu of nozzles, enables the industrial-scale electrospinning of nanofibers. A young company from the Czech Republic generated a great deal of electricity in Geneva, ...
- Nanofiber-based biodegradable millirobot that can release drugs in targeted positions in the intestineson April 29, 2022 at 7:06 am
and then assembled the two parts with a magnetic field-assisted electrospinning method. The special core-shell structure of the nanofibers used in the body fabric enabled drug encapsulation within ...
- Matexcel Released a Wide Range of Biodegradable & Tissue Engineering Material Productson April 27, 2022 at 10:26 am
Products include: PLGA Electrospinning Microspheres, PLGA Cell Culture Microspheres, PLA Cell Culture Microspheres, PLGA Granule, PLA Granule, PDLGA Granule, PCL Granule, PVA Electrospinning ...
- Global Electrospinning Machines Market 2022 Analytical Assessment, Key Drivers, Growth and Opportunities to 2028on April 24, 2022 at 2:24 pm
Apr 24, 2022 (CDN Newswire via Comtex) -- A recent market research report introduced by MarketsandResearch.biz with the title Global Electrospinning Machines Market 2022 by Manufacturers ...
- Digital holography for 3D tracking of fibers drawn by electrospinning. (IMAGE)on February 24, 2022 at 6:18 pm
(a) Experimental frames of polymer jetting, showing the movement of the fiber in time. (b) Tracking of the fiber position in frame 4653, the blue dots represent the focus position. (c) Three ...
- Electrospinning Starter Kiton July 10, 2020 at 3:18 pm
Let us help you with your inquiries, brochures and pricing requirements Request A Quote Download PDF Copy Download Brochure Inovenso’s Starter Kit electrospinning ...
- NS1 NanoSpinner: Electrospinning Equipmenton April 7, 2020 at 8:49 am
Let us help you with your inquiries, brochures and pricing requirements Request A Quote Download PDF Copy Download Brochure The NS1 NanoSpinner model from Inovenso ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
The Latest Bing News on:
- Bioabsorbable Vascular Grafts Used to Reconstruct Kids’ Heartson May 18, 2022 at 5:01 pm
The devices are made by Xeltis, a Swiss firm, out of electrospun bioabsorbable polymers. These polymers allow for collagen and blood vessels to form within the material, the tissue taking over ...
- Rational Design of Nanofiber Scaffolds for Orthopedic Tissue Repair and Regenerationon May 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Here, we highlight studies on the use of electrospun nanofibers for regulating ... Joan C Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University, Huntington, WV 25701, USA. The authors are supported ...
- Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicineon April 11, 2021 at 2:24 pm
Yerrabelli, Rahul S. Somers, Sarah M. Grayson, Warren L. and Spector, Alexander A. 2021. Modeling the mechanics of fibrous-porous scaffolds for skeletal muscle ...
- Scott Sell, Ph.D.on February 4, 2021 at 12:02 pm
He has also done extensive research on the incorporation and controlled release of platelet-rich plasma from electrospun scaffolds. Sell’s research interests include tissue engineering, regenerative ...
- Dr Saroash Shahid, BDS MSc PhDon August 14, 2020 at 8:38 am
2015-present Senior Lecturer in Dental Biomaterials and Dental Anatomy, Institute of Dentistry, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry 2012- 2015 Teaching Fellow, Institute of Dentistry ...
- Professor Paul Hattonon March 5, 2020 at 12:40 pm
Development of Innovative Electrospun Technologies for Medical Devices ... and additional teaching on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine for courses in the Faculty of Engineering. Teaching ...
- Papers in spotlighton July 11, 2016 at 6:02 am
Taking this into account, new emulsion electrospun double-layered tube ... establishes the basis to generate germ cells for diverse applications in research and medicine. Original publication: MA ...
- Rational Design of Nanofiber Scaffolds for Orthopedic Tissue Repair and Regenerationon September 25, 2013 at 3:17 am
We first describe how electrospun nanofibers can be designed ... Joan C Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University, Huntington, WV 25701, USA. The authors are supported in part by the ...
- 8 Lessons Medicine Is Learning From Mother Natureon January 19, 2013 at 7:13 am
In this gallery of biomimicry--the practice of emulating nature to solve human problems--we take a look at what medicine is learning from the animal kingdom. The squid beak is a feat of natural ...
- Nanomaterials at work in biomedical researchon October 1, 2008 at 5:00 am
With some nanomaterial-based medicines having entered the marketplace ... This approach has been made with electrospun nanofibres, a class of nanomaterials that is increasingly gaining interest ...