“Nail” and “comb” effects of cholesterol modified NIPAm oligomers on cancer targeting liposomes†
Thermosensitive liposomes are a promising approach to controlled release and reduced drug cytotoxicity. Low molecular weight N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAm) oligomers (NOs) with different architectures (main chain NOs (MCNOs) and side chain NOs (SCNOs)) were synthesized by reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization and radical polymerization and then separately used to prepare thermosensitive liposomes. A more controlled and enhanced release was observed for both NO liposomes compared to pristine ones. Two release mechanisms depending on the oligomer architecture, namely “nail” for MCNOs and “comb” for SCNOs, are proposed. In addition to thermosensitivity, the cancer targeting property of NO liposomes was achieved by further biotinylation of the delivery system.