Research Highlight

Slow release hydrogels

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.287 Published online 8 September 2009

Researchers have developed two oligopeptide (amino acid) hydrogels that successfully trap and slowly release an anti-cancer drug1. The hydrogels offer a new way to deliver doxorubicin, an anti-cancer drug used for breast and gastric cancers.

Compared to natural and synthetic polymer-based hydrogels, peptide-based gels have received much attention due to their ability to self-assemble and for having cavities to retain drug molecules.

To study how hydrogels trap and release anti-cancer drugs, the researchers made two oligopeptide-based gels (peptide 1 and 2) through self-assembly in the presence and absence of doxorubicin solution.

After 35 hours, the hydrogel from peptide 1 released 75% and the one from pepdite 2 released 80% of the entrapped molecules into the solution at pH 6.5. "Such slow release of drug molecules seems to be effective in treating cancer and other diseases than fast release", says lead researcher Arindam Banerjee from the biological chemistry department of Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata. This may hold future promise for using these water-soluble short peptide-based hydrogels as a drug delivery vehicle, he says.


  1. Naskar, J. et al. Tetrapeptide-Based Hydrogels: for Encapsulation and Slow Release of an Anticancer Drug at Physiological pH. J. Phys. Chem. B. 113, 11787-11792 (2009) | Article |