Overcoming the barriers to the use of polyurethane nanoparticles as efficient drug delivery systems
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Polymeric nanoparticles have immense potential in the drug delivery field. Most pharmacological targets for these nanocarriers are inside the cell, and the drugs can be delivered by endocytosis or diffusion. The bio-distribution and subsequent drug release depends on size, surface properties, deformability, circulation time, and cytotoxicity. The major obstacle in the delivery of therapeutic payload to the tumor is the clearance of particles by the reticuloendothelial system and localization and retention of the particle at the target site. This research project aims to establish principles for the rational design for clinically useful nanomaterials. The study involves the characterization of polyurethane nanoparticles composed of alternating hard (hydrophobic) and soft (hydrophilic) segments. The two polymeric nanoparticles have PEG soft segments in loop conformation. The behavior and performance of polyurethane nanoparticles is investigated against the three major physiological barriers - size of tumor interstitium, adsorption of various protein opsonins, and early release of therapeutic payload. These PEG loops on the particles are hypothesized to be deformable in nature that allows the particles to accumulate at the tumor site. The geometry also makes them less likely to escape the tissue.