Tuning the drug multimodal release through a co-assembly strategy based on magnetic gels†
Self-assembled short peptide-based gels are highly promising drug delivery systems. However, implementing a stimulus often requires screening different structures to obtain gels with suitable properties, and drugs might not be well encapsulated and/or cause undesirable effects on the gel's properties. To overcome this challenge, a new design approach is presented to modulate the release of doxorubicin as a model chemotherapeutic drug through the interplay of (di)phenylalanine-coated magnetic nanoparticles, PEGylated liposomes and doxorubicin co-assembly in dehydropeptide-based gels. The composites enable an enhancement of the gelation kinetics in a concentration-dependent manner, mainly through the use of PEGylated liposomes. The effect of the co-assembly of phenylalanine-coated nanoparticles with the hydrogel displays a concentration and size dependence. Finally, the integration of liposomes as doxorubicin storage units and of nanoparticles as composites that co-assemble with the gel matrix enables the tuneability of both passive and active doxorubicin release through a thermal, and a low-frequency alternating magnetic field-based trigger. In addition to the modulation of the gel properties, the functionalization with (di)phenylalanine improves the cytocompatibility of the nanoparticles. Hereby, this work paves a way for the development of peptide-based supramolecular systems for on-demand and controlled release of drugs.