A new family of block ionomer complexes (BIC) formed by poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(4-vinylbenzylphosphonate) (PEG-b-PVBP) and various cationic surfactants was prepared and characterized. These complexes spontaneously self-assembled in aqueous solutions into particles with average size of 40-60 nm and remained soluble over the entire range of the compositions of the mixtures including stoichiometric electroneutral complexes. Solution behavior and physicochemical properties of such BIC were very sensitive to the structure of cationic surfactants. Furthermore, such complexation was used for incorporation of cationic anti-cancer drug, doxorubicin (DOX), into the core of BIC with high loading capacity and efficiency. The DOX/PEG-b-PVBP BIC also displayed high stability against dilution, changes in ionic strength. Furthermore, DOX release at the extracellular pH of DOX/PEG-b-PVBP BIC was slow. It was greatly increased at the acidic pH mimicking the endosomal/lysosomal environment. Confocal fluorescence microscopy using live MCF-7 breast cancer cells suggested that DOX/PEG-b-PVBP BICs are transported to lysosomes. Subsequently, the drugs are released and exert cytotoxic effect killing these cancer cells. These findings indicate that the obtained complexes can be attractive candidates for delivery of cationic drugs to tumors.
- Drug delivery
- Polyion complex
- Surfactant-assisted polymeric micelle
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmaceutical Science