Simultaneous and controlled release of two different bioactive small molecules from nature inspired single material†
Extended and controlled release of more than a single bioactive molecule, simultaneously, from the same biocompatible matrix is challenging to achieve. However, this is important for combating various severe challenges (drug resistance, improved efficacy, etc.) related to drug delivery. In the recent past, the meta-stable trapped air (in the lotus leaf inspired artificial interfaces), which attributed to the extreme water repellency in biomimicked heirarchical (consisted of micro/nano features) interfaces, was unprecedentedly exploited for addressing multiple relevant aspects related to drug delivery (e.g., multiple drug release, tunable drug release, dose control through post-loading of drug molecules, etc.). A biocompatible polymeric material that is (a) synthesized using a one-step covalent and featured gelation of a single polymer and (b) capable of tailoring with a wide range of water wettabilities, was exploited for post loading both hydrophilic and hydrophobic small molecules from a wide variety (less polar, more polar, nonpolar) of organic solvents. Such small molecules loaded polymeric materials continued to display durable nature-inspired bulk wettability and provided simultaneous co-release of two different bioactive drug molecules (i.e., doxorubicin (DOX, anticancer drug) and tetracycline (TC, antibacterial drug)), over 6 months. Moreover, the release extent (from hours to months) of these small molecules was successfully tuned by controlling the water wettability of the single porous polymeric material. The released drug molecules remained bioactive and capable of inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells (MG-63 (human osteosarcoma) and MDA-MB-231 (human breast adenocarcinoma)) and microorganisms (S. aureus and E. coli). These results provide a facile basis for developing a more potent and multifunctional drug release system for prospective biomedical applications.