Leveraging Colloidal Aggregation for Drug-Rich Nanoparticle Formulations

Mol Pharm. 2017 Jun 5;14(6):1852-1860. doi: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.6b01015. Epub 2017 May 19.


While limited drug loading continues to be problematic for chemotherapeutics formulated in nanoparticles, we found that we could take advantage of colloidal drug aggregation to achieve high loading when combined with polymeric excipients. We demonstrate this approach with two drugs, fulvestrant and pentyl-PABC doxazolidine (PPD; a prodrug of doxazolidine, which is a DNA cross-linking anthracycline), and two polymers, polysorbate 80 (UP80) and poly(d,l-lactide-co-2-methyl-2-carboxytrimethylene carbonate)-graft-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLAC-PEG; a custom-synthesized, self-assembling amphiphilic polymer). In both systems, drug-loaded nanoparticles had diameters < 200 nm and were stable for up to two days in buffered saline solution and for up to 24 h in serum-containing media at 37 °C. While colloidal drug aggregates alone are typically unstable in saline and serum-containing media, we attribute the colloid stability observed herein to the polymeric excipients and consequent decreased protein adsorption. We expect this strategy of polymer-stabilized colloidal drug aggregates to be broadly applicable in delivery formulations.

Keywords: colloids; drug delivery; polymers; self-assembly; solvent exchange.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colloids / chemistry*
  • Doxorubicin / analogs & derivatives
  • Doxorubicin / chemistry
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Micelles
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Oxazoles / chemistry
  • Polymers / chemistry


  • Colloids
  • Drug Carriers
  • Micelles
  • Oxazoles
  • Polymers
  • doxazolidine
  • Doxorubicin