Polymeric carriers with various shapes and architectures have been utilized as carriers for drug and gene delivery. In particular, polymeric micelles with a core-shell structure may enable the hydrophobic inner core to serves as a container for hydrophobic drugs, while the outer shell that is more hydrophilic can stabilize the colloids and extend their circulation time in the bloodstream after their systemic administration. In this regard, the synthesis for conventional micelles of block copolymers with various hydrophobic blocks may be complicated, as the compatibility between a drug to be delivered and the hydrophobic segment of the polymer must be attained to achieve desired drug loading capability.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a water soluble copolymer that includes hydrophilic block segments or graft chains which are covalently linked. The first hydrophilic segment contains repeating units that are mostly cyclodextrin groups, whereas the second contains repeating units other than cyclodextrin. Using this copolymer, nano and/ or micro-sized particles for use in delivery of biologics and other functional molecules can be fabricated, where the cyclodextrin portion of the particles may act as a host for guest hydrophobic molecule or polymer.
Applications and Advantages
- delivery carriers for drug, gene, or other molecules
- substrate to support cell culture
- image-enhancing agents in imaging applications
- broad applications including in vivo use