Self-Assembled, Biodegradable Magnetic Resonance Imaging Agents: Organic Radical-Functionalized Diblock Copolymers

Julian M.W. Chan, Rudy J. Wojtecki, Haritz Sardon, Ashlynn L.Z. Lee, Cartney E. Smith, Artem Shkumatov, Shujun Gao, Hyunjoon Kong, Yi Yan Yang, James L. Hedrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the design, synthesis, and evaluation of biodegradable amphiphilic poly(ethylene glycol)-b-polycarbonate-based diblock copolymers containing pendant persistent organic radicals (e.g., PROXYL). These paramagnetic radical-functionalized polymers self-assemble into micellar nanoparticles in aqueous media, which preferentially accumulate in tumor tissue via the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. Through T1 relaxation NMR studies, as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies on mice, we show that these nanomaterials are effective as metal-free, biodegradable MRI contrast agents. We also demonstrate anticancer drugs can be readily loaded into the nanoparticles, conferring therapeutic delivery properties in addition to their imaging properties making these materials potential theranostic agents in the treatment of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-180
Number of pages5
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 21 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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