Mr. Vladi Kushnirov-Melnitzer, M.Sc. Candidate
Department of Materials Science and Engineering,
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
Nowadays, pure polymeric materials cannot embody all the physical, chemical, and mechanical properties required for future and current applications in the field of Controlled Drug Release (CDR). Inorganic–organic materials such as polymer-ceramic hybrids may be able to fill this critical void. More specifically, TiO2 nanomaterials are used for various applications in the biomedical field – bone tissue regeneration, wound healing, sunscreens and more. Conversely, their use as drug carriers has been scarce and limited to hollow TiO2 nanotubes . We hypothesized that the combination of TiO2 with amphiphilic polymers would render nanomaterials that capitalize on the advantageous features of both components. In this research, we employed an amphiphilic branched poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(propylene oxide) block copolymer as molecular template to produce for the first time drug-loaded TiO2 nanoparticles by means of an aging timecontrolled sol-gel process that resulted in a gradual decrease of the nanoparticle size with aging time. The properties of these novel nanomaterials were characterized by complementary methods such as NMR, ATR-FTIR, DSC, TGA, XRD, DLS and the morphology visualized by SEM and TEM. Then, the encapsulation of a model hydrophobic drug, namely the antiparasitic drug nitazoxanide was assessed. Future studies will characterize the drug release kinetics and the cell compatibility in vitro.