Core-shell microspheres with surface grafted poly(vinyl alcohol) as drug carriers for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma

T. L.Uyen Nguyen, Brooke Farrugia, Thomas P. Davis, Christopher Barner-Kowollik, Martina H. Stenzel

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Core(polyvinyl neodecanoate-ethylene glycol dimethacrylate)-shell(polyvinyl alcohol) (core (P(VND-EGDMA))-shell(PVA)) microspheres were developed by seeded polymerization with the use of conventional free radical and RAFT/MADIX mediated polymerization. Poly(vinyl pivalate) PVPi was grafted onto microspheres prepared via suspension polymerization of vinylneodecanoate and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate. The amount of grafted polymer was found to be independent from the technique used with conventional free radical polymerization and MADDC polymerization resulting into similar shell thicknesses. Both systems - grafting via free radical polymerization or the MADIX process - were found to follow slightly different kinetics, While the free radical polymerization resulted in a weight gain linear with the monomer consumption in solution the growth in the MADIX controlled system experienced a delay. The core-shell microspheres were obtained by hydrolysis of the poly(vinyl pivalate) surface grafted brushes to form poly(vinyl alcohol). During hydrolysis the microspheres lost a significant amount of weight, consistent with the hydrolysis of 40-70% of all VPi units. Drug loading was found to be independent of the shell layer thickness, suggesting that the drug loading is governed by the amount of bulk material. The shell layer does not appear to represent an obstacle to the drug ingress. Cell testing using colorectal cancer cell lines HT 29 confirm the biocompatibility of the empty microspheres whereas the clofazimine loaded particles lead to 50% cell death, confirming the release of the drug.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3256-3272
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomaterials
  • Core-shell microspheres
  • Core-shell polymers
  • Drug delivery
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Poly(vinyl alcohol)
  • RAFT/MADIX polymerization
  • Reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT)

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