Polymeric micelles for the pH-dependent controlled, continuous low dose release of paclitaxel

Adam W.G. Alani, Younsoo Bae, Deepa A. Rao, Glen S. Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(aspartate-hydrazide) (PEG-p(Asp-Hyd)) was modified using either levulinic acid (LEV) or 4-acetyl benzoic acid (4AB) attached via hydrazone bonds. Paclitaxel (PTX) conjugated to the linkers formed PEG-p(Asp-Hyd-LEV-PTX) and PEG-p(Asp-Hyd-4AB-PTX). PEG-p(Asp-Hyd-LEV-PTX) and PEG-p(Asp-Hyd-4AB-PTX) assemble into unimodal polymeric micelles with diameters of 42 nm and 137 nm, respectively. PEG-p(Asp-Hyd-LEV-PTX) and PEG-p(Asp-Hyd-4AB-PTX) at a 1:1 and 1:5 molar ratio assemble into unimodal mixed polymeric micelles with diameters of 85 and 113 nm, respectively. PEG-p(Asp-Hyd-LEV-PTX) micelles release LEV-PTX faster at pH 5.0 than at pH 7.4 over 24 h. At pH 7.4 mixed polymeric micelles at 1:5 ratio show no difference in LEV-PTX release from PEG-p(Asp-Hyd-LEV-PTX) micelles. Mixed polymeric micelles at 1:5 molar ratio gradually release LEV-PTX at pH 5.0, with no release of 4AB-PTX. PEG-p(Asp-Hyd-LEV-PTX) micelles and mixed polymeric micelles exert comparable cytotoxicity against SK-OV-3 and MCF-7 cancer cell lines. In summary, mixed polymeric micelles based on PEG-p(Asp-Hyd-LEV-PTX) and PEG-p(Asp-Hyd-4AB-PTX) offer prospects for pH-dependent release of PTX, offering a novel prodrug strategy for adjusting its pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties for cancer therapy. If successful this delivery system offers an alternative new mode of delivery for paclitaxel with a new scope for its efficacy along with a minimal synthetic framework needed to accomplish this.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1765-1772
Number of pages8
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Controlled drug release
  • Hydrazone
  • Mixed micelle
  • Paclitaxel
  • Prodrug

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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