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J Am Chem Soc. 2011 Jan 26;133(3):559-66. doi: 10.1021/ja108441d. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Core-clickable PEG-branch-azide bivalent-bottle-brush polymers by ROMP: grafting-through and clicking-to.

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Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, California 91125, USA.


The combination of highly efficient polymerizations with modular "click" coupling reactions has enabled the synthesis of a wide variety of novel nanoscopic structures. Here we demonstrate the facile synthesis of a new class of clickable, branched nanostructures, polyethylene glycol (PEG)-branch-azide bivalent-brush polymers, facilitated by "graft-through" ring-opening metathesis polymerization of a branched norbornene-PEG-chloride macromonomer followed by halide-azide exchange. The resulting bivalent-brush polymers possess azide groups at the core near a polynorbornene backbone with PEG chains extended into solution; the structure resembles a unimolecular micelle. We demonstrate copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) "click-to" coupling of a photocleavable doxorubicin (DOX)-alkyne derivative to the azide core. The CuAAC coupling was quantitative across a wide range of nanoscopic sizes (∼6-∼50 nm); UV photolysis of the resulting DOX-loaded materials yielded free DOX that was therapeutically effective against human cancer cells.

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