Poly(ω-pentadecalactone-co-p-dioxanone) [poly(PDL-co-DO)] copolyesters are copolymers of an isodimorphic system, which remain semicrystalline over the whole range of compositions. Here, we evaluated enzymatically synthesized poly(PDL-co-DO) copolymers as new materials for biomedical applications. In vivo experiments using mice, showed that the copolyesters are well tolerated, with tissue responses that are comparable to poly(p-dioxanone). In addition, the copolymers were found to degrade hydrolytically at controlled rates over a period of several months under physiological conditions. The poly(PDL-co-DO) copolymers with up to 69 mol% DO units were successfully transformed to free-standing nanoparticles that are capable of encapsulating an anticancer drug, doxorubicin, or a polynucleotide, siRNA. Drug- or siRNA-loaded nanoparticles exhibited controlled and continuous release of agent over many weeks. In addition, siLUC-encapsulated poly(PDL-co-DO) nanoparticles were active in inhibiting luciferase gene expression in LUC-RKO cells. Because of substantial differences in structure and hydrophobicity between PDL and DO units, poly(PDL-co-DO) biodegradation rate and physical properties can be tuned over a wide range depending on the copolymer composition. Our results demonstrate that the semicrystalline and biodegradable poly(PDL-co-DO) copolyesters are promising biomaterials to serve as drug carriers, as well as potential raw materials for constructing bioabsorbable sutures and other medical devices.
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