Sustained, localized protein delivery can enhance the safety and activity of protein drugs in diverse disease settings. While hydrogel systems are widely studied as vehicles for protein delivery, they often suffer from rapid release of encapsulated cargo, leading to a narrow duration of therapy, and protein cargo can be denatured by incompatibility with the hydrogel crosslinking chemistry. In this work, we describe injectable nanocomposite hydrogels that are capable of sustained, bioactive, release of a variety of encapsulated proteins. Injectable and porous cryogels were formed by bio-orthogonal crosslinking of alginate using tetrazine-norbornene coupling. To provide sustained release from these hydrogels, protein cargo was pre-adsorbed to charged Laponite nanoparticles that were incorporated within the walls of the cryogels. The presence of Laponite particles substantially hindered the release of a number of proteins that otherwise showed burst release from these hydrogels. By modifying the Laponite content within the hydrogels, the kinetics of protein release could be precisely tuned. This versatile strategy to control protein release simplifies the design of hydrogel drug delivery systems.
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Here we present an injectable nanocomposite hydrogel for simple and versatile controlled release of therapeutic proteins. Protein release from hydrogels often requires first entrapping the protein in particles and embedding these particles within the hydrogel to allow controlled protein release. This pre-encapsulation process can be cumbersome, can damage the protein's activity, and must be optimized for each protein of interest. The strategy presented in this work simply premixes the protein with charged nanoparticles that bind strongly with the protein. These protein-laden particles are then placed within a hydrogel and slowly release the protein into the surrounding environment. Using this method, tunable release from an injectable hydrogel can be achieved for a variety of proteins. This strategy greatly simplifies the design of hydrogel systems for therapeutic protein release applications.
Last updated on 12/10/2017
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