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Hydrogel nanocomposites for cancer therapy

Research Achievements

Hydrogel nanocomposites for cancer therapy

IGERT investigators have developed hydrogel nanocomposites to be used in cancer therapy applications. These systems are comprised of a polymeric matrix with entrapped iron oxide nanoparticles that are capable of heating upon exposure to an alternating magnetic field (AMF). This allows the gels to be used for hyperthermia treatment of cancer which increases the efficacy of conventional chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments. PEG/iron oxide-based hydrogels were studied to deliver both heat and a chemotherapeutic agent, paclitaxel (PTX). It was demonstrated that the swelling, mechanical, and heating properties of the hydrogel nanocomposites could be tailored based on the amount of crosslinking of the hydrogel system. PTX was successfully delivered from all of the hydrogel systems. It was shown that treating A549 lung carcinoma cells with both PTX and hyperthermia had a synergistic effect. Three publications in refereed journals have resulted from this multidisciplinary project.