Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Nanofibrous Spongy Microspheres for Biological and Engineering Applications

Technology #6259

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Microspheres with different microstructures
Peter X. Ma
Managed By
Kristen Wolff
Senior Licensing Specialist, Medical Devices 734-647-5604
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending
US Patent Pending

This technology enables the creation of microspheres or nanospheres for a variety of applications such as drug delivery, tissue engineering and new construction materials. Controlling the microstructure of microspheres to fine tune drug release properties is a challenge. The life science and medical technology market for microspheres is estimated to be ~ $ 900 million by 2018.

Emulsification Conditions Determine Microstructure

The microspheres are made by emulsification of polymers in a polyol solution. The microstructure of the microspheres is controlled by timing the addition of the polyol and also by the polymer type. Several hydrogel and polymer based microspheres are being tested for delivering chemotherapeutics for cancer patients. Such microspheres can also be used to destroy tumors and fibroids by blocking blood flow near the affected area (embolization therapy). The technology would enable the development of new treatment strategies for cancer which affects 14 million patients every year globally. Thus, this technology can aid a large patient population.


  • Controlled release of drugs
  • Cell carriers
  • Tissue engineering scaffolds
  • Oil and gas exploration
  • Construction materials


  • Controlled microstructure