Mechanoresponsive drug delivery materials
Kaplan, Jonah Andrew
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Stimuli-responsive drug delivery materials release their payloads in response to physiological or external cues and are widely reported for stimuli such as pH, temperature, ionic strength, electrical potential, or applied magnetic field. While a handful of reports exist on materials responsive to mechanical stimuli, this area receives considerably less attention. This dissertation therefore explores three-dimensional networks and polymer-metal composites as mechanoresponsive biomaterials by using mechanical force to either trigger the release of entrapped agents or change the conformation of implants. At the nanoscale, shear is demonstrated as a mechanical stimulus for the release of a monoclonal antibody from nanofibrous, low molecular weight hydrogels formed from bio-inspired small molecule gelators. Using their self-healing, shear-thinning properties, mechanoresponsive neutralization of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) in a cell culture bioassay is achieved, suggesting utility for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Reaching the microscale, mechanical considerations are incorporated within the design of cisplatin-loaded meshes for sustained local drug delivery, which are fabricated through electrospinning a blend of polycaprolactone and poly(caprolactone-co-glycerol monostearate). These meshes are compliant, amenable to stapling/suturing, and they exhibit bulk superhydrophobicity (i.e., extraordinary resistance to wetting), which sustains release of cisplatin >90 days in vitro and significantly delays tumor recurrence in an in vivo murine lung cancer resection model. This polymer chemistry/processing strategy is then generalized by applying it to the poly(lactide-co-glycolide) family of biomedical polymers. As a macroscopic approach, a tunable, tension-responsive multilayered drug delivery device is developed, which consists of a water-absorbent core flanked by two superhydrophobic microparticle coatings. Applied strain initiates coating fracture to cause core hydration and subsequent drug release, with rates dependent on strain magnitude. Finally, macroscopic, shape-changing polymer-composite materials are developed to improve the current functionality of breast biopsy markers. This shape change provides a means to prevent marker migration from its intended site—a current clinical problem. In summary, mechanoresponsive systems are described, ranging from the nano- to macroscopic scale, for applications in drug delivery and biomedical devices. These studies add to the nascent field of mechanoresponsive biomedical materials and the arsenal of drug delivery techniques required to combat cancer and other medical ailments.