Inorganic particle for the body: porous silicon nanoparticles can be a versatile drug carrier platform for enhancing therapeutic effects

M. Med. Zehua Liu from Santos Lab, University of Helsinki has developed during his doctoral studies several porous silicon nanoparticle based drug delivery systems. His findings provide multiple strategies for manipulating porous materials for biomedical applications and lay ground for personalised drug release.

Porous materials have special meaning in the field of drug delivery, mainly due to their versatility in loading various type of cargos, for example drugs. However, due to the porous structures, the loaded cargos can be easily disrupted when they are administrated to the patient. Therefore challenges still lay ahead and request for more controllable, or even personalised drug release profiles from the drug delivery systems.

“Porous silicon can be the next generation of pharmaceutical ingredient, and microfluidics can facilitate this process”, explains M. Med Zehua Liu, from Santos Lab, the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki.

In his doctoral thesis Zehua describes the development of several porous silicon based nanosystems for loading different drugs. He shows that the drug release behavior and administration route can be tailored depending on the specific pathological condition of patients for example with cancer, liver failure and diabetic ulcer. Sequentially conducted preclinical proof-of-concept trials confirmed the enhanced treatment efficiency.

The drug delivery systems described in Zehua’s thesis are majorly fabricated via a simple method called microfluidics. The fluidic dynamics render the low batch-to-batch variation of the produced drug delivery nanosystem, making the “lab-scale design” closer to the “industry-scale production” according to Zehua.

Original article: 

Liu Z., 2019. Porous Silicon-Based On-Demand Nanohybrids for Biomedical Applications

Dissertationes Scholae Doctoralis Ad Sanitatem Investigandam Universitatis Helsinkiensis, 49/2019,

ISBN 978-951-51-5290-9 (Paperback), 978-951-51-5291-6 (PDF) (PDF,, ISSN 2342-3161

Doctoral defence:

M.Med Zehua Liu will defend his doctoral dissertation "Porous Silicon-Based On-Demand Nanohybrids for Biomedical Applications” on 19 July 2019 at 12:00 at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki ". The defence will take place at Infocenter Korona, Sali 235, Viikinkaari 11, Helsinki. The opponent is Professor Ester Segal, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, and Custos is Professor Jouni Hirvonen. The thesis is also available as an electronic publication via E-thesis -service.