Protein therapeutics have been developed to treat diseases ranging from arthritis and psoriasis to cancer. A challenge in the development of protein-based drugs is maintaining the protein in the folded state during processing and storage. We are developing a novel processing method, light-assisted drying (LAD), to dehydrate proteins suspended in a sugar (trehalose) solution for storage at supra-zero temperatures. Our technique selectively heats the water in small volume samples using near-IR light to speed dehydration which prevents sugar crystallization that can damage embedded proteins. In this study, we compare the end moisture content (EMC) as a function of processing time of samples dried with two different light sources, Nd:YAG (1064 nm) and Thulium fiber (1850 nm) lasers. EMC is the ratio of water to dry weight in a sample and the lower the EMC the higher the possible storage temperature. LAD with the 1064 and 1850 nm lasers yielded 78% and 65% lower EMC, respectively, than standard air-drying. After 40 minutes of LAD with 1064 and 1850 nm sources, EMCs of 0.27±.27 and 0.15±.05 gH2O/gDryWeight were reached, which are near the desired value of 0.10 gH2O/gDryWeight that enables storage in a glassy state without refrigeration. LAD is a promising new technique for the preparation of biologics for anhydrous preservation.
Madison A. Young, Matthew Van Vorst, Gloria D. Elliott, and Susan R. Trammell, "Light-assisted drying (LAD) of small volume biologics: a comparison of two IR light sources," Proc. SPIE 9706, Optical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XXVII, 97060F (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 15, 2016; Published: 7 March 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2209676.
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