Advanced healthcare materials

PHB-Based Gels as Delivery Agents of Chemotherapeutics for the Effective Shrinkage of Tumors.

PMID 27594657


Injectable thermogel to deliver chemotherapeutics in a minimally invasive manner and to achieve their long term sustained release at tumor sites to minimize side effects is attractive for chemotherapy and precision medicine, but its rational design remains a challenge. In this work, a copolymer with natural biodegradable poly[(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate] (PHB), hydrophilic poly(ethylene glycol), and temperature sensitive poly(propylene glycol) blocks linked by urethane linkages is designed to show thermogelling characteristics which are beneficial for minimally invasive injection and safe degradation. This thermogelling polymer possesses in vitro biocompatibility with very low cyto-toxicity in HEK293 cells. Furthermore, it is able to form the gel to achieve the controllable release of paclitaxel (PTX) and doxorubicin (DOX) by adjusting polymer concentrations. A rodent model of hepatocarcinoma has been performed to demonstrate the in vivo applications of this PHB-based thermogel. The drug-loaded thermogel has been intratumorally injected and both PTX-loaded and DOX-loaded thermogel have significantly slowed down tumor growth. This work represents the first time that injectable PHB thermogels have possessed good controllable release effect of chemotherapeutics against the in vivo model of tumors and will benefit various applications, including on-demand drug delivery and personalized medicine.

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