Development of novel carriers and optimization of their design parameters has led to significant advances in the field of targeted drug delivery. Since carrier shape has recently been recognized as an important design parameter for drug delivery, we sought to investigate how carrier shape influences their flow in the vasculature and their ability to target the diseased site. Idealized synthetic microvascular networks (SMNs) were used for this purpose since they closely mimic key physical aspects of real vasculature and at the same time offer practical advantages in terms of ease of use and direct observation of particle flow. The attachment propensities of surface functionalized spheres, elliptical/circular disks and rods with dimensions ranging from 1microm to 20microm were compared by flowing them through bifurcating SMNs. Particles of different geometries exhibited remarkably different adhesion propensities. Moreover, introduction of a bifurcation as opposed to the commonly used linear channel resulted in significantly different flow and adhesion behaviors, which may have important implications in correlating these results to in vivo behavior. This study provides valuable information for design of carriers for targeted drug delivery.
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