Nanostructured Polymer Monoliths for Biomedical Delivery Applications

Yihui Xie, Marc A. Hillmyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Drug delivery systems are designed to control the release rate and location of therapeutic agents in the body to achieve enhanced drug efficacy and to mitigate adverse side effects. In particular, drug-releasing implants provide sustained and localized release. We report nanostructured polymer monoliths synthesized by polymerization-induced microphase separation (PIMS) as potential implantable delivery devices. As a model system, free poly(ethylene oxide) homopolymers were incorporated into the nanoscopic poly(ethylene oxide) domains contained within a cross-linked polystyrene matrix. The in vitro release of these poly(ethylene oxide) molecules from monoliths was investigated as a function of poly(ethylene oxide) loading and molar mass as well as the molar mass and weight fraction of poly(ethylene oxide) macro-chain transfer agent used in the PIMS process for forming the monoliths. We also developed nanostructured microneedles targeting efficient and long-term transdermal drug delivery by combining PIMS and microfabrication techniques. Finally, given the prominence of poly(lactide) in drug delivery devices, the degradation rate of microphase-separated poly(lactide) in PIMS monoliths was evaluated and compared with bulk poly(lactide).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3236-3247
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 18 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (DMR-1609459 and DMR-2003454). SAXS data were obtained at the APS, Sector 5 (DuPont–Northwestern–Dow Collaborative Access Team, DND-CAT) and Sector 12. DND-CAT is supported by The Dow Chemical Company, E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., and Northwestern University. Use of the APS, an Office of Science User Facility operated for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science, by Argonne National Laboratory, was supported by the U.S. DOE under Contract DE-AC02-06CH11357. Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from NSF through the MRSEC program. Portions of this work were conducted in the Minnesota Nano Center, which is supported by NSF through the National Nano Coordinated Infrastructure Network, Award Number NNCI −1542202. The authors thank Colin Peterson, Nicholas Hampu, and David Goldfeld for helpful input.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.


  • drug delivery
  • medical implants
  • microneedles
  • nanostructured polymers
  • release kinetics
  • self-assembly

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