Biomimetic block copolymer particles with gated nanopores and ultrahigh protein sorption capacity
H. Yu, X. Qiu, S.P. Nunes, K.-V. Peinemann
Nature Communications, 5, art. no. 4110, (2014)
The design of micro- or nanoparticles that can encapsulate sensitive molecules such as drugs, hormones, proteins or peptides is of increasing importance for applications in biotechnology and medicine. Examples are micelles, liposomes and vesicles. The tiny and, in most cases, hollow spheres are used as vehicles for transport and controlled administration of pharmaceutical drugs or nutrients. Here we report a simple strategy to fabricate microspheres by block copolymer self-assembly. The microsphere particles have monodispersed nanopores that can act as pH-responsive gates. They contain a highly porous internal structure, which is analogous to the Schwarz P structure. The internal porosity of the particles contributes to their high sorption capacity and sustained release behaviour. We successfully separated similarly sized proteins using these particles. The ease of particle fabrication by macrophase separation and self-assembly, and the robustness of the particles makes them ideal for sorption, separation, transport and sustained delivery of pharmaceutical substances.