Faculty Sponsor's Department:
In cancer treatment, the drugs used against cancer cells are also toxic to healthy cells. Therefore research has focused on developing a safe and efficient delivery system which delivers and releases anti-cancer drugs specifically to cancer cells while leaving normal cells unaffected. One way to achieve this is by using amphiphilic copolymers which can self assemble into spherical structures, called micelles, in water. In this project, poly(ethyleneglycol-co-allyl glycidyl ether) was functionalized with a pyrene moiety and histamine moieties. The pyrene enabled determination of the critical micelle concentration via fluorescence spectroscopy. In future work, this moiety will also be used for imaging of micelle uptake in cell cultures. Depending on the pH, the imidazole groups on the histamine moieties will be protonated or not, thus switching the polymer between being amphiphilic or hydrophilic. In addition to the breakdown of the micellar structure it has been shown that histamine moieties also disrupt the endosomal vesicle, thus promoting drug uptake by the cell.