Aerosol delivery of nanoparticles in uniform mannitol carriers formulated by ultrasonic spray freeze drying

Suzanne M. D'Addio, John Gar Yan Chan, Philip Chi Lip Kwok, Bryan R. Benson, Robert K. Prud'Homme, Hak Kim Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Purpose: While most examples of nanoparticle therapeutics have involved parenteral or IV administration, pulmonary delivery is an attractive alternative, especially to target and treat local infections and diseases of the lungs. We describe a successful dry powder formulation which is capable of delivering nanoparticles to the lungs with good aerosolization properties, high loadings of nanoparticles, and limited irreversible aggregation. Methods: Aerosolizable mannitol carrier particles that encapsulate nanoparticles with dense PEG coatings were prepared by a combination of ultrasonic atomization and spray freeze drying. This process was contrasted to particle formation by conventional spray drying. Results: Spray freeze drying a solution of nanoparticles and mannitol (2 wt% solids) resulted in particles with an average diameter of 21 ± 1.7 μm, regardless of the fraction of nanoparticles loaded (0-50% of total solids). Spray freeze dried (SFD) powders with a 50% nanoparticle loading had a fine particle fraction (FPF) of 60%. After formulation in a mannitol matrix, nanoparticles redispersed in water to < 1 μm with hand agitation and to < 250 nm with the aid of sonication. Powder production by spray drying was less successful, with low powder yields and extensive, irreversible aggregation of nanoparticles evident upon rehydration. Conclusions: This study reveals the unique advantages of processing by ultrasonic spray freeze drying to produce aerosol dry powders with controlled properties for the delivery of therapeutic nanoparticles to the lungs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2891-2901
Number of pages11
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


  • NPAC
  • drug delivery
  • nanoparticle aerosol carriers
  • spray drying
  • spray freeze drying


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