Remotely triggered scaffolds for controlled release of pharmaceuticals

Paul Roach, David McGarvey, Martin Lees, Clare Hoskins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


Fe3O4-Au hybrid nanoparticles (HNPs) have shown increasing potential for biomedical applications such as image guided stimuli responsive drug delivery. Incorporation of the unique properties of HNPs into thermally responsive scaffolds holds great potential for future biomedical applications. Here we successfully fabricated smart scaffolds based on thermo-responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNiPAM). Nanoparticles providing localized trigger of heating when irradiated with a short laser burst were found to give rise to remote control of bulk polymer shrinkage. Gold-coated iron oxide nanoparticles were synthesized using wet chemical precipitation methods followed by electrochemical coating. After subsequent functionalization of particles with allyl methyl sulfide, mercaptodecane, cysteamine and poly(ethylene glycol) thiol to enhance stability, detailed biological safety was determined using live/dead staining and cell membrane integrity studies through lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) quantification. The PEG coated HNPs did not show significant cytotoxic effect or adverse cellular response on exposure to 7F2 cells (p < 0.05) and were carried forward for scaffold incorporation. The pNiPAM-HNP composite scaffolds were investigated for their potential as thermally triggered systems using a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser. These studies show that incorporation of HNPs resulted in scaffold deformation after very short irradiation times (seconds) due to internal structural heating. Our data highlights the potential of these hybrid-scaffold constructs for exploitation in drug delivery, using methylene blue as a model drug being released during remote structural change of the scaffold.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 8585-8602
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2013


  • scaffold
  • smart material
  • thermo-responsive
  • hybrid nanoparticle
  • surface plasmon

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