Poly(thioether phenyl acrylate) Based Micelles Show Exclusively ROS-triggered Breakdown

30 September 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


In certain tumor and diseased tissues, reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as H2O2, are produced in higher concentrations than in healthy cells. To date, only few examples of drug delivery and release systems responds selectively to these small but significantly elevated ROS concentrations. In addition, assuring the stability of the polymer-based carrier in “healthy” biological conditions is still a challenge in the field of oxidation-sensitive materials. Here, we present ROS-responsive block copolymer micelles capable of achieving micellar disruption over days in the presence of 2 mM H2O2 and within hours under higher concentrations of H2O2 (60 – 600 mM). At the same time, these micelles are stable for over two weeks in oxidant-free physiological (pH = 7.4, 37°C) and for at least six days in mildly acidic (pH = 5.0 and pH = 6.0, 37°C) conditions. The observed selectivity is programmed into the material using a 4-(methylthio)phenyl ester based logic gate. Here, oxidation of the thioether moiety results in a large increase in ester hydrolytic lability, effectively switching the ester hydrolysis from off to on. The concept represents a step forward to realize signal responsive drug delivery materials capable of selective action in biological environments.


block copolymers
responsive materials
controlled release
reactive oxygen species
logic gates
polymer micelles

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information - Poly(thioether phenyl acrylate) Based Micelles Show Exclusively ROS-triggered Breakdown
Supporting Information includes: Materials and Methods, synthesis procedures, compounds and polymer characterization data, kinetic study procedures and data, micelle drug loading data, cell experiment procedure and data, additional TEM images and NMR spectra.


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