Biomacromolecules, Vol.22, No.2, 732-742, 2021
Efficient Synthesis of Folate-Conjugated Hollow Polymeric Capsules for Accurate Drug Delivery to Cancer Cells
This study presents an efficient and systematic approach to synthesize bioapplicable porous hollow polymeric capsules (HPCs). The hydroxyl-functionalized nanoporous polymers with hollow capsular shapes could be generated via the moderate Friedel-Crafts reaction without using any hard or soft template. The numerous primitive hydroxyl groups on these HPCs were further converted to carboxyl groups. Owing to the abundance of highly branched carboxyl groups on the surface of the HPCs, biomolecules [such as folic acid (FA)] could be covalently decorated on these organic capsules (FA-HPCs) for drug delivery applications. The intrinsic hollow porosities and specific targeting agent offered a maximum drug encapsulation efficiency of up to 86% and drug release of up to 50% in 30 h in an acidic environment. The in vitro studies against cancer cells demonstrated that FA-HPCs exhibited a more efficient cellular uptake and intracellular doxorubicin release than bare HPCs. This efficient approach to fabricate carbonyl-functionalized hollow organic capsules may open avenues for a new type of morphological-controlled nanoporous polymers for various potential bioengineering applications.