Combining Ultra-High Drug Loaded Micelles and Shear Thinning, Injectable Hydrogel Drug Depots for Prolonged Drug Release

Hydrogel based drug depot formulations are of great interest for therapeutic applications. Here, the impact of incorporated drug, neat polymer micelles, and drug-loaded micelles on the viscoelastic properties of a cytocompatible hydrogel was investigated systematically. To challenge the hydrogel with regard to the desired application as injectable drug depot, curcumin (CUR) was chosen as a model compound due to its very low-water solubility and limited stability. CUR was either directly solubilized by the hydrogel or pre-incorporated into polymer micelles. Drug-release from a collagen matrix was studied in a trans-well setup and extended drug release over 10 weeks.