Tuning drug dosing through matching optically active polymer composition and NIR stimulation parameters
© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Controlled release is at the forefront of modern bioscience as it aims to address challenges associated with the dosing of drugs within required levels for therapeutic effect. Many materials and approaches can be used to control the release from different reservoirs including nanoparticles, liposomes and hydrogels. Using thermoresponsive hydrogels, near infrared illumination of plasmonic nanoparticles can be used to control the hydrogel through localised surface plasmon resonance heating. This work extends beyond a material level and pursues detailed examination of the drug release characteristics of a variable acrylic acid poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) coated gold nanorod system using dexamethasone as a model drug. Release was examined under different irradiation power densities and exposure times. Bulk heating effects in all stimulation protocols did not exceed the lower critical solution temperature of the system, but a marked increase in release was seen following stimulation. This was likely due to more intense heating occurring around the nanorods. A release model was established to describe the amount of drug eluted relative to input energy, suggesting that shorter irradiation periods release the drug more efficiently. The data reported establishes plasmonically modulated thermosensitive hydrogels as a candidate material that can be tailored to specific clinical applications of stimulated release.