A simple, yet powerful approach to synthesize photoreactive nanogel networks <5 nm that can swell between ~3 and ~200 times their initial radius with control over the size and surface charge via a solution polymerization reaction protocol was demonstrated. Nanogels with hydrodynamic radii from 0.9 nm to 3.2 nm and surface charges from -6.4 mV to -16.5 mV with dramatically different abilities to swell were synthesized by altering the solvent ratio before synthesis. Additionally, the control over the release kinetics of a small molecule over a period of 30 days was demonstrated by the methacrylate functionalization of the nanogels post-synthesis and the subsequent photo-aggregation of the nanogels. Thepotential to control the release of small molecule drugs via the concentration of photoreactive groups and the photo-induced aggregation of the nanogels offers the unique ability to tailor the in situ release kinetics of the delivery network.
Keywords: Controlled drug release; Nanogels; Photoaggregation; Photoreactive nanogels.
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