Urethane Acrylate Polymer Nanoparticles for Targeted Delivery of Therapeutics and MRI Contrast Agents

Previous work with amphiphilic urethane acrylate nonionomer (UAN) polymer nanoparticles yielded positive results; these particles proved to be fully functionalizable, and targeted delivery of therapeutics was a success. While UAN is entirely capable of encapsulating and delivering constrast agents (such as super paramagnetic iron oxide [SPIO]), this encapsulation compromises the ability to deliver a therapeutic payload as well.

We have attempted to overcome this issue by crosslinking UAN chains with urethane acrylate anionomer (UAA) chains, capable of conjugating and delivering SPIO via reactive carboxylate species. This leaves the internal cavity free to carry a therapeutic payload, allowing the particle to act both as a target-specific contrast agent and drug delivery vehicle.

UAN-UAA Nanoparticle(s)

Figure 1. SEM micrographs of UAN-UAA Nanoparticle(s).


The UAN-UAA-SPIO delivery platform could prove a powerful tool in early detection and treatment of disease. The current goals are as follows:

  • Fully characterize UAN-UAA-SPIO nanoparticles.
  • Determine the optimal UAN-UAA ratio for maximum MRI signal while maintaining specific targeting.
  • Optimize the synthesis to allow efficient conjugation of targeting moieties.
  • Confirm specific delivery in vitro.
  • Test ability as a target-specific contrast agent in vivo.

Jared Munir jmm593@cornell.edu