Overexpression of proteins in the body can cause severe diseases and other physiological disturbances. The development of protein blockers and local delivery systems would offer opportunities for addressing the health problems caused by protein overexpression. Nucleic acid aptamers are an emerging class of ligands with the potential to block proteins effectively; however, little effort has been made in developing polymer systems for local aptamer delivery. In this work, polymer microneedles capable of delivering DNA aptamers locally to inhibit the function of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were developed and studied. The presence of anti-VEGF aptamer in the polymer matrix did not change the apparent mechanical strength of the microneedles. Once in contact with a physiological solution, the polymer microneedles quickly dissolved, generating a high concentration of anti-VEGF aptamer in the surrounding local microenvironment. Aptamer delivery by way of dissolving polymer microneedles in a tissue phantom reduced VEGF-mediated endothelial cell tube formation. Thus, aptamer-loaded polymer microneedles hold great potential as a therapeutic tool for the treatment of human diseases resulting from protein overexpression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering