Indexed on: 11 May '06Published on: 11 May '06Published in: Journal of the American Chemical Society
Micellar nanoparticles made of surfactants and polymers have attracted wide attention in the materials and biomedical community for controlled drug delivery, molecular imaging, and sensing; however, their long-term stability remains a topic of intense study. Here we report a new class of robust, ultrafine silica core-shell nanoparticles formed from silica cross-linked, individual block copolymer micelles. Compared with pure polymeric micelles, the main advantage of the new core-shell nanoparticles is that they have significantly improved stability and do not break down during dilution. We also studied the drug loading and release properties of the silica cross-linked micellar particles, and we found that the new core-shell nanoparticles have a slower release rate which allows the entrapped molecules to be slowly released over a much longer period of time under the same experimental conditions. A range of functional groups can be easily incorporated through co-condensation with the silica matrix. The potential to deliver hydrophobic agents into cancer cells has been demonstrated. Because of their unique structures and properties, these novel core-shell nanoparticles could potentially provide a new nanomedicine platform for imaging, detection, and treatment, as well as novel colloidal particles and building blocks for mutlifunctional materials.