Injectable nanoengineered stimuli-responsive hydrogels for on-demand and localized therapeutic delivery
“Smart” hydrogels are an emerging class of biomaterials that respond to external stimuli and have been investigated for a range of biomedical applications, including therapeutic delivery and regenerative engineering. Stimuli-responsive nanogels constructed of thermoresponsive polymers such as poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylamide) (poly(NIPAM-co-AM)) and magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) have been developed as “smart carriers” for on-demand delivery of therapeutic biomolecules via magneto-thermal activation. However, due to their small size and systemic introduction, these poly(NIPAM-co-AM)/MNP nanogels result in limited control over long-term, localized therapeutic delivery. Here, we developed an injectable nanoengineered hydrogel loaded with poly(NIPAM-co-AM)/MNPs for localized, on-demand delivery of therapeutics (doxorubicin (DOX)). We have engineered shear-thinning and self-recoverable hydrogels by modulating the crosslinking density of a gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) network. Poly(NIPAM-co-AM)/MNP nanogels loaded with DOX were entrapped within a GelMA pre-polymer solution prior to crosslinking. The temperature and magnetic field dependent release of loaded DOX was observed from the nanoengineered hydrogels (GelMA/(poly(NIPAM-co-AM)/MNPs)). Finally, the in vitro efficacy of DOX released from injectable nanoengineered hydrogels was investigated using preosteoblast and osteosarcoma cells. Overall, these results demonstrated that the injectable nanoengineered hydrogels could be used for on-demand and localized therapeutic delivery for biomedical applications.