Polymer-Coated Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles

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Submitted by Neetu Singh and Sangeeta Bhatia of the Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies at the Koch Institute

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Neetu Singh and Sangeeta Bhatia
Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies, Koch Institute
Transmission Electron Micrograph

"This image was taken as a confirmation of the synthesis of a polymer shell on mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs). We were trying to observe a polymer layer on the surface of MSNPs. 

MSNPs are very small particles MSNPs are very small particles that can be loaded with drugs, or other small molecules, and that are more stable in the harsh environment of a live body (in a tissue, or the bloodstream) or in a tissue culture plate than these drugs would be on their own. MSNPs can therefore be used deliver their cargo to cells, but have been shown to be toxic to the cells on their own.  In our work, we added a thin coating of a polymer shell to the MSNPs, in order to make the particles less damaging. We also tested a range of polymers and found that we can ‘tune’ the composition of the shell and the central MSNP core in order to load drugs that are released at different rates, and under different conditions. This system may allow for a single administration of a drug to provide both a short- and long-term release or dosing profile, and also can be designed to be released only in a certain environment, like a tumor.

This image confirmed the presence of a polymer shell, and provided evidence that our coating procedure was working and allowed us to develop these interesting drug delivery vehicles."