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Adah Almutairi develops new light-activated drug release technique

Posted on April 24, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Effective drug delivery relies on our ability to trigger and release drugs at the target effectively and safely. Using near- infrared (NIR) light to trigger drug release has been suggested, but the technique requires special polymers and high powered lasers, which can be expensive and inefficient.



In a recent publication in ACS Nano, Dr. Adah Almutairi, Pharma. Sci./Mat. Sci. & Engineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and her group showed that NIR triggering can be done simply with a laser and a wide variety of biodegradable polymers. In this paper, Dr. Almutairi's group uses hydrated polymer particles that are infused with encapsulated payloads that are exposed to NIR at 980 nm. This allows the water confined in the polymer network to vibrate, causing the polymeric network to become rubbery, releasing the encapsulated payloads to the surroundings. The researchers suggest that this process could be explained by the water molecules adsorbing electromagnetic energy that is then transferred to the surrounding polymer matrix, which results in a phase change in the polymer to a rubber-like state. This work shows great potential to use NIR to trigger drug release in a wide range of biodegradable polymers, achieving effective and efficient drug delivery for biomedical applications. 


(Caption: Increasing fluorescence indicates progressive release of fluorescein from poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) particles with increasing irradiation time; fluorescence of the dye is quenched inside particles by adjacent dye molecules. A solution of fluorescein-loaded PLGA particles in water was irradiated for the indicated times at 980 nm using a pulsed laser (1 W).)

Dr. Almutairi's research group, The Laboratory for Bioresponsive Materials, designs materials that can be used for innovative approaches to medicinal and biological applications, exploring the synthesis and development of different materials, including polymers, nanoparticles, hydrogels and composites. 


Almutairi is the director of UCSD's Center of Excellence in Nanomedicine. She received NIH's New Innovator Award in 2009, a prestigious award annually given to <50 young investigators to stimulate highly innovative research with potential for high impact. 

(Photo credit: Provided by and used with permission from Prof. Adah Almutairi, Adah: credit to Kevin Walsh, Science: Reprinted (adapted) with permission from “Near-Infrared-Induced Heating of Confined Water in Polymeric Particles for Efficient Payload Release. Mathieu L. Viger, Wangzhong Sheng, Kim Dore, Ali H. Alhasan, Carl-Johan Carling, Jacques Lux, Caroline de Gracia Lux, Madeleine Grossman, Roberto Malinow, and Adah Almutairi. ACS Nano. April 1, 2014. American Chemical Society.)

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1 Comment

Reply Ana Aitawa
1:53 AM on November 16, 2017 
The global nanomedicine market is estimated to reach $185 Billion in 2021, growing at a CAGR of 8.9% from 2017 to 2021, according to a market research report Nanomedicine Market Analysis and Forecast 2017-2021, published by iHealthcareAnalyst, Inc. The global nanomedicine market segmentation is based on applications (neurology, cardiology, oncology, anti-inflammatory, anti-infectives, etc.). https://www.ihealthcareanalyst.com/report/nanomedicine-market/