Multimodal imaging of sustained drug release from 3-D poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) scaffolds

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The potential of poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) scaffolds as drug carriers was investigated and the kinetics of the drug release quantified using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and optical imaging. Three different MR contrast agents were used for coating PPF scaffolds. Initially, iron oxide (IONP) or manganese oxide nanoparticles (MONP) carrying the anti-cancer drug doxorubicin were absorbed or mixed with the scaffold and their release into solution at physiological conditions was measured with MRI and optical imaging. A slow (hours to days) and functional release of the drug molecules into the surrounding solution was observed. In order to examine the release properties of proteins and polypeptides, protamine sulfate, a chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) MR contrast agent, was attached to the scaffold. Protamine sulfate showed a steady release rate for the first 24 h. Due to its biocompatibility, versatile drug-loading capability and constant release rate, the porous PPF scaffold has potential in various biomedical applications, including MR-guided implantation of drug-dispensing materials, development of drug carrying vehicles, and drug delivery for tumor treatment.

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