Thermoresponsive poly[N-(2,2-difluorethylacrylamide)] 19F MRI tracer-based materials as potential multipurpose theranostics

01 October 2021 → 30 September 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Synthesis of materials
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Diagnostic radiology
    • Medicinal chemistry
  • Engineering and technology
    • Biomaterials
    • Tissue engineering
Hydrogel polymer scaffold triblock copolymer flower-like particle tissue engineering drug delivery diagnostic therapy cell tracking LCST
Project description

Magnetic resonance imaging (1H MRI) is a commonly used diagnostic tool. Its potential can be improved by introducing a MRI tracer. The most promising tracers are 19F-based compounds, due to the high sensitivity, biocompatibility, negligible biological background along with the possibility of measuring 19F in commonly used 1H MRI devices. The aim of this project is to prepare various thermoresponsive triblock copolymers with variable architectures as 19F MRI tracers, able to form nano-particles in diluted aqueous solutions and which enable transition into a physically cross-linked hydrogel upon increasing polymer concentration. Thermoresponsive hydrogels are useful for tissue engineering applications, while the nano-particles can be used as drug delivery systems as well as for cell/tissue labelling. In general, we will create therapeutic and diagnostic (theranostic) tracers enabling straightforward synthesis while serving a multitude of applications. The polymers will be based on biocompatible poly[N-(2,2-difluoroethylacrylamide)] (PDFEA) polymers, of which the potential was already shown in our previous studies. The polymers will be prepared by various living polymerizations and characterized by various physico-chemical techniques (GPC, DLS/SLS, rheology, 1H and 19F NMR spectroscopy, MR spectroscopy and MR imaging). The suitability towards medical applications will be studied in vitro (cytotoxicity, cell cultivation/uptake, etc.) and in vivo (pharmacokitics, cell tracking.