Fiberoptic Microneedle Device for Combined Light and Nanomedicine Delivery: Mimicking Nature’s Design of a Mosquito

Sponsor: NSF: CBET: BME: 0933571
Performance Period: 8/1/09-7/31/12
PI: Chris Rylander, co-PIs: Nichole Rylander and Yong Xu

We have invented a fiberoptic microneedle device, or FMD, that allows significantly enhanced light penetration in tissue to enable a new regime of minimally-invasive and selective photothermal therapy through the combination of light and nanomedicine delivery. To achieve clinical translation of this device for cancer treatment, a fundamental understanding of its optical, mechanical, and therapeutic capability is required. To demonstrate the potential of this technology we have organized our research goals in the following three objectives:

1) Mechanical Penetration: Design and fabricate a fiberoptic microneedle device (FMD) and evaluate its performance in penetrating ex vivo porcine skin using white light photographic imaging and load-cell testing.

2) Optical/Fluid Delivery: Design and fabricate individual fiberoptic microneedles with solid cores to deliver light and hollow cores to deliver fluids containing nanoparticles, and evaluate their light/fluid delivery performance using brightfield and fluorescence imaging.

3) Thermal/Therapeutic: Evaluate photothermal damage specificity of FMD light delivery alone or in combination with nanoparticles using thermal imaging and cell viability assays.

Figure 1: Transmission electron microscope image of single-walled carbon nanohorns.

Figure 2: Co-delivery of nanohorns and laser light in an ex vivo bladder.