Since the early days of nanotechnology in medicine, nanocarriers – nanostructures that are used to transport therapeutic compounds inside living organisms – have been attracting the interest of researchers because of their great potential in targeted drug delivery due to a wide range of possibilities for surface modifications and compatibilization.
Another attractive issue of these nanoscale cargo systems is the ability to release the active molecules on demand (read more in some of the many Nanowerk Spotlights we have written on these issue: “Photo-triggered on demand drug release of nanoparticles” or “Electrically triggered drug release from smart nanomembranes” or ˆ”Remote-controlled nanocomposite for on-demand drug delivery inside the body”. Or a very neat DNA origami nanorobot with a switchable flap to release cargo.
A popular structure for the development of nanodelivery systems are hollow tubular nanoparticles. In new work, reported in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (“Nanohydrogel formation within halloysite lumen for triggered and sustained release”), researchers from Kazan Federal University and the University of Palermo show that a hydrogel can be confined within the cavity of halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) by means of an easy strategy.
“The alginate network inside the HNTs cavity can be triggered by chemical stimuli (by calcium chelators) altering the kinetics, which results in the release of the cargo,” Giuseppe Lazzara, professor, Department of Physics and Chemistry at the University of Palermo, tells Nanowerk. “With this work we have demonstrated that halloysite with tunable hydrophilic/hydrophobic interfaces can act as nanotemplate for the synthesis of drug delivery systems based on biopolymer hydrogels.”