A Self-degradable Curcumin Polymer with Anti-cancer Activity

J Appl Polym Sci. 2018 Dec 15;135(47):46867. doi: 10.1002/app.46867. Epub 2018 Aug 27.


Curcumin is a widely researched and utilized natural product used for a variety of ailments including as a gastrointestinal aide and an anticancer agent. Curcumin however suffers from poor bioavailability. A strategy to circumvent poor bioavailability is to administer with an adjuvant or by synthetic modification. Herein we demonstrate the incorporation of curcumin into a self-degradable polymer by condensation with N,N'-di-Boc-L-cystine. The polymer is made self-degradable upon deprotection of the cystine amines. Degradation is confirmed by thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry. Curcumin retains its anti-cancer activity within the polymer showing activity against HT29 human colon cancer cells and DU-145 prostate cancer cells. The self-degrading polymer showed enhanced activity against HT29 cells compared to that of curcumin.