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Biomaterials. 2008 Sep;29(26):3599-608. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.05.018. Epub 2008 Jun 24.

Self-assembled star-shaped chlorin-core poly(epsilon-caprolactone)-poly(ethylene glycol) diblock copolymer micelles for dual chemo-photodynamic therapies.

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Institute of Biomedical Engineering, College of Medicine and College of Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Section 1, Jen-Ai Road, Taipei 100, Taiwan.


Amphiphilic 4-armed star-shaped chlorin-core diblock copolymers based on methoxy poly(ethylene glycol) (mPEG) and poly (epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) were synthesized and characterized in this study. The synthesized photosensitizer-centered amphiphilic star block copolymer that forms assembled micelle-like structures can be used in a photodynamic therapy (PDT)-functionalized drug delivery system. Moreover, the hydrophobic chemotherapeutic agent, paclitaxel, can be trapped in the hydrophobic inner core of micelles. In our results, the star-polymer-formed micelle exhibited efficient singlet oxygen generation, whereas the hydrophobic photosensitizer failed due to aggregation in aqueous solution. The chlorin-core micelle without paclitaxel loading exhibited obvious phototoxicity in MCF-7 breast cancer cells with 7J/cm2 or 14J/cm2 light irradiation at a chlorin concentration of 125microg/ml. After paclitaxel loading, the size of micelle increased from 71.4nm to 103.2nm. Surprisingly, these micelles were found to improve the cytotoxicity of paclitaxel significantly in MCF-7 cells after irradiation through a synergistic effect evaluated by median effect analysis. This functionalized micellar delivery system is a potential dual carrier for the synergistic combination of photodynamic therapy and chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer.

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