pH-responsive copolymer assemblies for controlled release of doxorubicin

Elizabeth R. Gillies, Jean M.J. Fréchet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

508 Scopus citations


pH-Responsive drug carriers have the potential to provide selective drug release at therapeutic targets including tumors and in acidic intracellular vesicles such as endosomes and lysosomes. We have developed a new approach to the design of acid-sensitive micelles by incorporating hydrophobic acetal groups on the core block of a micelle-forming block copolymer. Hydrolysis of the acetals at mildly acidic pH is designed to reveal polar groups on the core-forming block, thus changing its solubility and disrupting the micelle, triggering drug release. The anticancer drug doxorubicin (DOX) was encapsulated in these pH-sensitive micelles, and the acetal hydrolysis rates and DOX release rates were determined in the pH range of 4.0 to 7.4 and were compared to those of control systems. The micelle disruption was investigated by dynamic light scattering. The in vitro toxicities of the empty and DOX-loaded micelles were determined, and the intracellular fate of the encapsulated DOX was compared to free DOX using fluorescence confocal microscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-368
Number of pages8
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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