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PURPOSE: To develop spherulite formulations to achieve high entrapment efficiency for both small and macromolecules as well as cell-type specific delivery. METHODS: Spherulites of various compositions were prepared, and lipid-PEG was incorporated through post-insertion. Calcein and FITC-labeled albumin were employed as model drugs for small and macromolecules. The spherulites were characterized with respect to entrapment efficiency, size, structure, and release kinetics, and the morphology was examined via cryo-EM. Finally, SV119-decorated spherulites were examined for their selective uptake by cancer cells. RESULTS: The spherulites are 170 ~ 290 nm in size. A loading efficiency of 55 ~ 60% can be consistently achieved for both calcein and albumin under optimized conditions. Cryo-EM shows the onion-like morphology consistent with the structure of multilamellar liposomes. A t(½) of 39.3 h and 69.7 h in cargo release in serum was observed before and after PEG decoration, and incorporation of SV119 led to selective delivery of rhodamine-labeled spherulites to PC-3 tumor cells. CONCLUSIONS: Our optimized formulations may represent a platform with simple preparation approach, relatively small particle size, high drug loading efficiency for both low and high molecular weight agents, and slow release kinetics for selective delivery of various types of therapeutics to target cells.

Original publication




Journal article


Pharm Res

Publication Date





1525 - 1535


Albumins, Cell Line, Tumor, Chemistry, Pharmaceutical, Dexamethasone, Drug Carriers, Drug Delivery Systems, Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate, Fluoresceins, Humans, Kinetics, Lipids, Liposomes, Macromolecular Substances, Molecular Weight, Particle Size, Polyethylene Glycols, Rhodamines, Serum Albumin, Small Molecule Libraries