Effects of polymer 3D architecture, size, and chemistry on biological transport and drug delivery in vitro and in orthotopic triple negative breast cancer models

Amanda K. Pearce*, Akosua B. Anane-Adjei, Robert J. Cavanagh, Patricia F. Monteiro, Thomas M. Bennett, Vincenzo Taresco, Phil A. Clarke, Alison A. Ritchie, Morgan R. Alexander, Anna M. Grabowska, Cameron Alexander

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
171 Downloads (Pure)


The size, shape, and underlying chemistries of drug delivery particles are key parameters which govern their ultimate performance in vivo. Responsive particles are desirable for triggered drug delivery, achievable through architecture change and biodegradation to control in vivo fate. Here, polymeric materials are synthesized with linear, hyperbranched, star, and micellar-like architectures based on 2-hydroxypropyl methacrylamide (HPMA), and the effects of 3D architecture and redox-responsive biodegradation on biological transport are investigated. Variations in “stealth” behavior between the materials are quantified in vitro and in vivo, whereby reduction-responsive hyperbranched polymers most successfully avoid accumulation within the liver, and none of the materials target the spleen or lungs. Functionalization of selected architectures with doxorubicin (DOX) demonstrates enhanced efficacy over the free drug in 2D and 3D in vitro models, and enhanced efficacy in vivo in a highly aggressive orthotopic breast cancer model when dosed over schedules accounting for the biodistribution of the carriers. These data show it is possible to direct materials of the same chemistries into different cellular and physiological regions via modulation of their 3D architectures, and thus the work overall provides valuable new insight into how nanoparticle architecture and programmed degradation can be tailored to elicit specific biological responses for drug delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000892
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The animal experiments were approved by the UK Home Office under the Licence number PPL P435A9CF8. This work was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Grant Nos. EP/N006615/1, EP/N03371X/1, EP/H005625/1, and EP/L013835/1). This work was also funded by the Royal Society (Wolfson Research Merit Award WM150086) to C.A. The authors thank the Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre (nmRC) for providing access to instrumentation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Advanced Healthcare Materials published by Wiley-VCH GmbH

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • biomedical applications
  • bionanotechnology
  • drug delivery
  • polymeric materials
  • stimuli-responsive materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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