Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) against imiquimod, a highly potent immune response modifier used in the treatment of skin cancer, were synthesised using a template analogue strategy and were compared with imprints of the drug itself. An investigation of the complexation between the functional monomer and the template analogue revealed an association constant of 1376 ± 122 M−1, significantly higher than previously reported values for similar systems. The binding characteristics of the synthesised imprinted polymers were evaluated and extremely strong binding for imiquimod was observed while imprinting factors as high as 17 were calculated. When applied as sorbents in solid-phase extraction of imiquimod from aqueous, urine and blood serum samples, clean extracts and recoveries up to 95% were achieved, and it is concluded that while imiquimod imprints exhibited higher capacity for the drug, template analogue imprints are more selective. The results obtained suggest potential applications of imiquimod imprints as sorbents in rapid extraction and monitoring of undesirable systemic release of the drug.
This article is Open Access
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