Special Issue "Micro and Nanotechnologies in Biomedicines"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomaterials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2019.

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Mario Moisés Alvarez Website E-Mail
Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, México
Interests: biomedical engineering; microtechnologies; nanotechnology; bioprinting; organ-on-chip; biomaterial engineering; bioreaction engineering

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Today, micro- and nano-technologies are reshaping the way we prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. Microfluidics is now providing a well-matured toolbox for the development of more efficient approaches to study and solve biomedical problems. Nanoparticle technology promises to deliver exciting, revolutionary, and effective solutions within the medical arena in the years to come. Micro- and nano-technologies are now coming together to offer new possibilities for overcoming current major health threats, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other degenerative or infectious diseases.

In this Special Issue, we will select a set of contributions that illustrate the use of micro- and nano-technologies in diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic scenarios. Our aim is to provide a current landscape of applications in which the independent (or preferably integrated) use of micro- and nano-technologies offers added value to the solution of biomedical problems.  Without a doubt, the highest potential for breakthrough solutions to our current medical challenges involves the synergistic and smart combination of micro- and nano-technologies.

We particularly welcome contributions that (a) discuss the integration of micro- and nano-technologies for the development of better diagnostic platforms; (b) show examples of the combined used of micro- and nano-technology to prevent diseases; and (b) illustrate how micro- and/or nano-technologies add to the therapeutic toolbox to combat some of the major health concerns of modern societies. We also encourage the submission of manuscripts that provide examples of the translation of micro- and nano-technologies to clinics.

Some of the topics that clearly fit into this scope are as follows:

  • The development of point-of-care systems based on micro- and nano-technologies
  • Micro- and nano-sensing strategies for medical applications
  • Development and characterization of micro- and nano-structured materials for biomedical applications
  • Wearable technologies for the continuous assessment of health conditions
  • Microfluidics tools to diagnose or model diseases
  • Micro- and nano-fabrication strategies to develop micro-tissues (including 3D bioprinting)
  • Organ-on-chip applications (with or without a nanotechnology component)
  • Micro- and nano-technologies for drug development
  • Nanovaccine technology
  • Synthesis and evaluation of nanoparticles for biomedical applications

It is my pleasure to invite you to submit your manuscript for this Special Issue. Full papers, communications, and reviews are all very welcome.

Prof. Mario Moisés Alvarez
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • microtechnology
  • nanotechnology
  • microfluidics
  • nanoparticles
  • microfabrication
  • nanofabrication
  • biomedical
  • biomedicine
  • miniaturization
  • bioprinting

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Bone Regeneration Potential of Uncalcined and Unsintered Hydroxyapatite/Poly l-lactide Bioactive/Osteoconductive Sheet Used for Maxillofacial Reconstructive Surgery: An In Vivo Study
Materials 2019, 12(18), 2931; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12182931 - 11 Sep 2019
Abstract
Uncalcined and unsintered hydroxyapatite/poly l-lactide (u-HA/PLLA) material has osteoconductive characteristics and is available for use as a maxillofacial osteosynthetic reconstruction device. However, its bone regeneration ability in the maxillofacial region has not been fully investigated. This study is the first to assess [...] Read more.
Uncalcined and unsintered hydroxyapatite/poly l-lactide (u-HA/PLLA) material has osteoconductive characteristics and is available for use as a maxillofacial osteosynthetic reconstruction device. However, its bone regeneration ability in the maxillofacial region has not been fully investigated. This study is the first to assess the bone regenerative potential of osteoconductive u-HA/PLLA material when it is used for repairing maxillofacial bone defects. A total of 21 Sprague-Dawley male rats were divided into three groups—the u-HA/PLLA, PLLA, or sham control groups. A critical size defect of 4 mm was created in the mandible of each rat. Then, the defect was covered with either a u-HA/PLLA or PLLA sheet on the buccal side. The rats in each group were sacrificed at 2, 4, or 8 weeks. The rats’ mandibles were sampled for histological analysis with hematoxylin and eosin staining, histomorphometry, and immunohistochemistry with Runx2 and osteocalcin (OCN) antibody. The amount of newly formed bone in the u-HA/PLLA group was significantly higher than that of the PLLA group. The expression of Runx2 and OCN in the u-HA/PLLA group was also significantly higher. These results demonstrate that the u-HA/PLLA material has excellent bone regenerative ability and confirm its applicability as a reconstructive device in maxillofacial surgery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro and Nanotechnologies in Biomedicines)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Geometry Effects of Axisymmetric Flow-Focusing Microchannels for Single Cell Encapsulation
Materials 2019, 12(17), 2811; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12172811 - 02 Sep 2019
Abstract
Cell microencapsulation is a promising technique to protect living cells in biomedical applications. Microfluidic devices can be utilized to control the production of high-throughput cell-laden droplets. This paper demonstrates the effects of flow-focusing geometry on the droplet size, frequency of droplet generation, and [...] Read more.
Cell microencapsulation is a promising technique to protect living cells in biomedical applications. Microfluidic devices can be utilized to control the production of high-throughput cell-laden droplets. This paper demonstrates the effects of flow-focusing geometry on the droplet size, frequency of droplet generation, and number of cells per droplet. Orifice radius, orifice length, and nozzle-to-orifice distance can significantly influence the flow-field and manipulate droplet formation. This paper analyzes these geometry effects using a numerical front-tracking method for the three fluid phases. It is found that as the orifice radius increases, the drop size and the number of cells in the droplet increase. For a short orifice radius, increasing the orifice length results in the generation of smaller droplets at higher frequency and fewer cells per droplet. On the other hand, for a longer orifice, droplet production is invariant with respect to orifice length. It is also found that shorter distances between the nozzle and the orifice lead to a more controlled and uniform production of droplets. When the nozzle-to-orifice length is increased, the droplet formation becomes non-uniform and unpredictable. Probability charts are plotted with respect to the orifice length and orifice radius, which show that a greater than 50 % probability of single cell encapsulation can be achieved consistently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro and Nanotechnologies in Biomedicines)
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Open AccessArticle
Efficacy of Bacterial Cellulose as a Carrier of BMP-2 for Bone Regeneration in a Rabbit Frontal Sinus Model
Materials 2019, 12(15), 2489; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12152489 - 06 Aug 2019
Abstract
If the alveolar bone height of patients requiring dental implants in the maxillary molar region is inadequate, it is difficult to achieve satisfactory outcomes using existing bone graft materials. We previously reported the possible utility of bacterial cellulose (BC) as a new dental [...] Read more.
If the alveolar bone height of patients requiring dental implants in the maxillary molar region is inadequate, it is difficult to achieve satisfactory outcomes using existing bone graft materials. We previously reported the possible utility of bacterial cellulose (BC) as a new dental treatment material. BC has a high absorptive capacity, good mechanical strength, and good volume retention. BC loaded with bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) might allow effective alveolar bone augmentation. We created critical frontal bone defect models in 12 male Japanese white rabbits and divided them into four groups: sham; BC (BC grafting only); BMP-2 (treated with BMP-2 solution only); and BC+BMP-2 (grafted with BC loaded with BMP-2). Newly formed bone volume was calculated via hematoxylin-eosin staining evaluation. The proliferating cell nuclear antigen and osteocalcin levels were determined by the immunohistochemical staining analysis. All measured indices of the BC+BMP-2 group were significantly superior to those of the other groups (all p < 0.05). BC maintained the graft space and released BMP-2 in a sustained manner, promoting optimal bone formation. The BC+BMP-2 combination enhanced bone regeneration and shows promise as a useful means of clinical pre-dental implant bone augmentation in the maxillary sinus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro and Nanotechnologies in Biomedicines)
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Open AccessArticle
Nano-Carriers Based on pH-Sensitive Star-Shaped Copolymers for Drug-Controlled Release
Materials 2019, 12(10), 1610; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12101610 - 16 May 2019
Abstract
Polymeric nano-carriers are considered as promising tools in biomedical applications due to multiple attractive characteristics including their low toxicity, high loading capacity, controlled drug release capabilities, and highly tunable chemical properties. Here, a series of pH-sensitive star-shaped copolymers, Ad-P[(EMA-co-MAA)-b-PPEGMA] [...] Read more.
Polymeric nano-carriers are considered as promising tools in biomedical applications due to multiple attractive characteristics including their low toxicity, high loading capacity, controlled drug release capabilities, and highly tunable chemical properties. Here, a series of pH-sensitive star-shaped copolymers, Ad-P[(EMA-co-MAA)-b-PPEGMA]4, was prepared via electron transfer atom radical polymerization (ARGETE ATRP) and selective hydrolysis. These star-shaped copolymers can be self-assembled into micelles (Dh = 150–160 nm) and their critical micelle concentrations (CMC) were estimated to be 3.9–5.0 mg/L. The pH-sensitiveness of the micelles was evidenced by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS). The maximal paclitaxel (PTX) loading efficiency (DLC) and entrapment efficiency (EE) were 18.9% and 36%, respectively. In vitro release studies revealed that about 19% of the PTX released at an acidic condition of pH 1.2 over 70 h, whereas more than 70% was released within the same time interval at pH 6.8. In vitro cytotoxicity suggested that the low cytotoxicity of the blank micelles, while the PTX-loaded micelles providing the cytotoxicity close to that of free PTX. These results indicated that this novel pH-sensitive nano-carriers have great potential applications for oral drug-controlled release. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro and Nanotechnologies in Biomedicines)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Tumor-on-Chip: Recent Advances in the Development of Microfluidic Systems to Recapitulate the Physiology of Solid Tumors
Materials 2019, 12(18), 2945; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12182945 - 11 Sep 2019
Abstract
The ideal in vitro recreation of the micro-tumor niche—although much needed for a better understanding of cancer etiology and development of better anticancer therapies—is highly challenging. Tumors are complex three-dimensional (3D) tissues that establish a dynamic cross-talk with the surrounding tissues through complex [...] Read more.
The ideal in vitro recreation of the micro-tumor niche—although much needed for a better understanding of cancer etiology and development of better anticancer therapies—is highly challenging. Tumors are complex three-dimensional (3D) tissues that establish a dynamic cross-talk with the surrounding tissues through complex chemical signaling. An extensive body of experimental evidence has established that 3D culture systems more closely recapitulate the architecture and the physiology of human solid tumors when compared with traditional 2D systems. Moreover, conventional 3D culture systems fail to recreate the dynamics of the tumor niche. Tumor-on-chip systems, which are microfluidic devices that aim to recreate relevant features of the tumor physiology, have recently emerged as powerful tools in cancer research. In tumor-on-chip systems, the use of microfluidics adds another dimension of physiological mimicry by allowing a continuous feed of nutrients (and pharmaceutical compounds). Here, we discuss recently published literature related to the culture of solid tumor-like tissues in microfluidic systems (tumor-on-chip devices). Our aim is to provide the readers with an overview of the state of the art on this particular theme and to illustrate the toolbox available today for engineering tumor-like structures (and their environments) in microfluidic devices. The suitability of tumor-on-chip devices is increasing in many areas of cancer research, including the study of the physiology of solid tumors, the screening of novel anticancer pharmaceutical compounds before resourcing to animal models, and the development of personalized treatments. In the years to come, additive manufacturing (3D bioprinting and 3D printing), computational fluid dynamics, and medium- to high-throughput omics will become powerful enablers of a new wave of more sophisticated and effective tumor-on-chip devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro and Nanotechnologies in Biomedicines)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Title: Gold Nanoparticle and Oncotherapy: From Basis to Clinical

Authors: Xue Bai, Yanmin Feng, YuanYuan Chen, Yuguo Dai, Bin Song, Shuzhang Liang, Dixiao Chen, Li Song and Lin Feng

2. Author: Minmin Liang

3. Author: Nurul Hanun Ahmad Raston

4. Author: Marie-Pearl O. Seniagya

5. Author: Hafsa Khurshid

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