Sterilization methods of liposomes: Drawbacks of conventional methods and perspectives.

Affiliation

Delma KL(1), Lechanteur A(2), Evrard B(2), Semdé R(3), Piel G(4).
Author information:
(1)Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmacy, Nanomedicine Developments, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Medicines
(CIRM), University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium; Laboratory of Drug Development, Doctoral School of Sciences and Health, University Joseph KI-ZERBO, 03 BP 7021 Ouagadougou 03, Burkina Faso.
(2)Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmacy, Nanomedicine Developments, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Medicines
(CIRM), University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium.
(3)Laboratory of Drug Development, Doctoral School of Sciences and Health, University Joseph KI-ZERBO, 03 BP 7021 Ouagadougou 03, Burkina Faso.
(4)Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmacy, Nanomedicine Developments, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Medicines
(CIRM), University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Liposomes are targeted drug delivery systems that are of great pharmaceutical and therapeutic interest. Parenteral route is the main way used for liposome administration. In this case, their sterility is a requirement. However, due to the particular sensitivity of liposomes and their tendency to physicochemical alterations, their sterilization remains a real challenge. Conventional sterilization methods such as heat, ethylene oxide, ultraviolet and gamma irradiations are considered as unsuitable for liposome sterilization and the recommended methods for obtaining sterility of liposomes are filtration and aseptic manufacturing. Unfortunately, these recommended methods are not without limitations. This review outlines the difficulties associated with the use of these different classical methods for obtaining liposome sterility. The effects on liposome physicochemical and biopharmaceutical characteristics as well as efficacy, toxicity and practical problems of these sterilization techniques have been discussed. The search for an alternative method being therefore necessary, the applicability of supercritical carbon dioxide (ScCO2) technology, which is nowadays a promising strategy for the sterilization of sensitive products such as liposomes, is also examined. It appears from this analysis that ScCO2 could effectively be an interesting alternative to achieve sterility of liposomes, but for this, sterilization assays including challenge tests and optimization studies are needed.