Major challenges associated with nano-sized drug delivery systems include removal from systemic circulation by phagocytic cells and controlling appropriate drug release at target sites. 2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine (MPC) has been copolymerised in turn with two pH responsive comonomers (2-(diethylamino)ethyl methacrylate (DEA) and 2-(diisopropylamino)ethyl methacrylate (DPA), to develop novel biocompatible drug delivery vehicles. Micelles were prepared from a series of copolymers with varying block compositions and their colloidal stability and dimensions were assessed over a range of solution pH using photon correlation spectroscopy. The drug loading capacities of these micelles were evaluated using Orange OT dye as a model compound. The cytotoxicity of the micelles was assessed using an in vitro assay. The MPC-DEA diblock copolymers formed micelles at around pH 8 and longer DEA block lengths allowed higher drug loadings. However, these micelles were not stable at physiological pH. In contrast, MPC-DPA diblock copolymers formed micelles of circa 30 nm diameter at physiological pH. In vitro assays indicated that these MPC-DPA diblock copolymers had negligible cytotoxicities. Thus novel non-toxic biocompatible micelles of appropriate size and good colloidal stability with pH-modulated drug uptake and release can be readily produced using MPC-DPA diblock copolymers.
- Drug delivery
- Block copolymers