New polymer releases molecular cargo in response force
Waste Management Expo 2020 MAR 12&13 BIEC, Bengaluru, India

New polymer releases molecular cargo in response to force

10:34 AM, 10th December 2019
Coumarin dye, the chemical chosen as the molecular payload in this study, fluoresces when exposed to ultraviolet light.
Coumarin dye, the chemical chosen as the molecular payload in this study, fluoresces when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Caltech scientists have developed a new kind of polymer that can carry a chemical payload as part of its molecular structure and release it in response to mechanical stress. The chemical system they have developed could one day be used to create medical implants that can release drugs into the body when triggered bysomething like ultrasound waves, they say.

In a new paper published in the September 13 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, assistant professor of chemistry Maxwell Robb and researchers in his lab describe the polymer they have developed and the reaction that makes the payload system possible. The new material consists of a set of polymer chains bonded to the payload system, creating a mechanically sensitive unit called a mechanophore.

A so-called cascade reaction ejects the payload from the polymer. In simple terms, force applied to the polymer causes weak bonds in the mechanophore to rupture, spitting out an unstable intermediate molecule that promptly breaks down to release the attached payload. In their paper, the authors demonstrate the release of a coumarin dye, an organic molecule with useful properties, but they say the polymer could be tailored to release a variety of molecules, including those with therapeutic qualities.

A material that can release drugs on command could be used to provide more precise treatment of some medical conditions; for example, a cancer therapy could deliver a drug directly to the intended target.

“The generality of this new platform is unique in that it allows, in principle, the mechanically triggered release of a wide range of cargo molecules,” Robb said. The system Robb and his colleagues have developed could also be tweaked for other purposes. He said that it is possible to create a polymer that depolymerizes— or completely breaks down into small molecules—when subjected to stress.

Alternatively, a polymer could be tailored to release a reporter molecule to signal locations in a structure that are under stress and could lead to a structural failure.

“We are actively working on expanding the design in a number of directions, to evaluate the scope of cargo release and for triggered depolymerization, which is particularly promising for stress amplification since it allows a single triggering event to generate many small molecules through a domino reaction,” Robb said.

The paper is titled “Mechanically Triggered Small Molecule Release from a Masked Furfuryl Carbonate.” Robb’s co-authors are postdoctoral scholar Xiaoran Hu and graduate students Tian Zeng and Corey Husic. Funding for the research was provided by Caltech.

© Chemical Today magazine

View the magazine on Mobile, download the Chemical Today magazine app



Your Comments (Up to 2000 characters)
Please respect our community and the integrity of its participants. WOC reserves the right to moderate and approve your comment.

Related News

Visible light, nanaparticle catalysts produce desirable bioactive molecules

Northwestern University chemists have used visible light and extremely tiny nanoparticles to quickly and simply make molecules that are of the same cl ...

Read more
New dawn rising with 2020 color of the year

Tranquil Dawn is AkzoNobel’s Color of the Year for 2020. The culmination of extensive trend research by experts around the world, it’s des ...

Read more
One downstream strategic imperatives for evolving refining, chemical sectors

By Duane Dickson, Andrew Slaughter & Anshu Mittal The downstream industry, although currently in its golden era, is likely to face disruption fro ...

Read more
Water demand & supply gap, government regulations to drive growth

Wastewater treatment chemicals market size was valued at over $22 billion and is estimated to be worth more than $35 billion by 2023, growing at a CAG ...

Read more
Increased applications, research activities to boost market

Laboratory chemical reagent is a compound that is utilized in a chemical reaction to identify, examine, determine or produce other chemical substance. ...

Read more
Construction activities fuelling the silicones market

The silicone market was valued at $18.2 billion in 2018, and is expected to reach $91.4 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 22.5 percent from 2019 ...

Read more uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. X