Multicompartment Microgel Beads for Co-Delivery of Multiple Drugs at Individual Release Rates

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-880
Journal / PublicationACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number1
Online published31 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2016


Multidrug therapy may yield higher therapeutic effects as compared to monotherapy, yet its wide application has been hampered by the limitations of conventional drug delivery systems, in which not only incompatible drugs cannot be co-delivered but also the release rates of individual co-delivered drugs cannot be tuned separately. Regarding these limitations, we adopt the microfluidic electrospray technology to fabricate alginate-based multicompartment microgel beads. By using cadmium-telluride (CdTe) quantum dots (QDs) and a quenching agent as a model pair, the beads are shown to effectively separate incompatible drugs during co-delivery, and significantly prolong the time of observable fluorescence emission from QDs co-delivered with a quenching agent. Moreover, the drug release rates from different compartments can be tuned using the polymer blending technique to achieve a variety of drug release patterns. This study is one of the first to adopt the microfluidic electrospray technology to generate microgel beads with such versatility for co-delivery of multiple drugs. Our results provide evidence for the promising potential of our beads to be further developed as a carrier for multidrug therapy and other applications that require co-administration of multiple bioactive agents.

Research Area(s)

  • alginate, co-delivery, electrospray, microgels, multidrug therapy