We’ve previously reported on the NASA Microencapsulation Electrostatic Processing System-II experiment (MEPS-II) conducted on the International Space Station. Bringing microencapsulation to space not only provides unique opportunities for research in cancer treatment deliveries, but also such a high-profile application brings much attention to microencapsulation as a process. This new page published by NASA give a quick rundown of the ISS microencapsulation research along with relevant technical references.
This research project was conducted in space in order to make use of the microgravity environment in improving microcapsule production:
“The Microencapsulation Electrostatic Processing System-II experiment (MEPS-II), led by Dr. Dennis Morrison (retired) at NASA Johnson Space Center, was performed on ISS in 2002 and included innovative encapsulation of several different anti-cancer drugs, magnetic triggering particles, and encapsulation of genetically engineered DNA. The experiment system improved on existing microencapsulation technology by using microgravity to modify the fluid mechanics, interfacial behavior, and biological processing methods as compared to the way the microcapsules would be formed in gravity. In effect, the MEPS-II system on ISS combined two immiscible liquids in such a way that surface tension forces (rather than fluid shear) dominated at the interface of the fluids. The significant performance of the space-produced microcapsules as a cancer treatment delivery system (Le Pivert et al. 2004) motivated the development of the Pulse Flow Microencapsulation System (PFMS), which is an Earth-based system that can replicate the quality of the microcapsules created in space.”