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Title: Branched PCL-based thermogelling copolymers: controlling polymer architecture to tune drug release profiles
Authors: Lin, Qianyu
Ow, Valerie
Boo, Yi Jian
Teo, Vincent T. A.
Wong, Joey H. M.
Tan, Rebekah P. T.
Xue, Kun
Lim, Jason Y. C.
Loh, Xian Jun
Keywords: Engineering::Materials
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Lin, Q., Ow, V., Boo, Y. J., Teo, V. T. A., Wong, J. H. M., Tan, R. P. T., Xue, K., Lim, J. Y. C. & Loh, X. J. (2022). Branched PCL-based thermogelling copolymers: controlling polymer architecture to tune drug release profiles. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 10, 864372-.
Project: H20c6a0033 
Journal: Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 
Abstract: Temperature-responsive hydrogels, or thermogels, are a unique class of biomaterials that show facile and spontaneous transition from solution to gel when warmed. Their high biocompatibility, and ease of formulation with both small molecule drugs and biologics have made these materials prime candidates as injectable gel depots for sustained local drug delivery. At present, controlling the kinetics and profile of drug release from thermogels is achieved mainly by varying the ratio of hydrophobic: hydrophilic composition and the polymer molecular weight. Herein, we introduce polymer branching as a hitherto-overlooked polymer design parameter that exhibits profound influences on the rate and profile of drug release. Through a family of amphiphilic thermogelling polymers with systematic variations in degree of branching, we demonstrate that more highly-branched polymers are able to pack less efficiently with each other during thermogel formation, with implications on their physical properties and stability towards gel erosion. This in turn resulted in faster rates of release for both encapsulated small molecule hydrophobic drug and protein. Our results demonstrate the possibility of exploiting polymer branching as a hitherto-overlooked design parameter for tailoring the kinetics and profile of drug release in injectable thermogel depots.
ISSN: 2296-4185
DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2022.864372
Schools: School of Materials Science and Engineering 
Organisations: Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), A*STAR 
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, NUS 
Rights: © 2022 Lin, Ow, Boo, Teo, Wong, Tan, Xue, Lim and Loh. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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