A good way to end a year and start the next: two publications from CBNS CI Professor Ben Boyd’s group
Publications | February 9, 2018

A terrific way to end 2017 and start 2018: CBNS CI Professor Ben Boyd‘s group added two articles two their publication list.

Mr Nicolas Alcaraz and Professor Ben Boyd published the article Cubosomes as Carriers for MRI Contrast Agents in the Current Medicinal Chemistry journal (Vol: 24, issue: 5, year: 2017, page: 470 – 482)



Cubosomes are self-assembled nanostructures that often form on dispersion of polar lipids in aqueous environments. The nanoparticles are analogous to liposomes but contain a complex internal self-assembled structure providing a point of difference to relatively simple liposomes. They exhibit a range of attractive properties such as having a high surface area, being able to incorporate both hydrophobic and hydrophilic molecules and controlled release. Consequently cubosomes are of increasing interest in fields such as drug delivery, and diagnostic imaging, in particular as a carrier for magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents. Over the last decade the incorporation of various contrast agents into the cubic mesophases has demonstrated improved relaxivity and resolution, as well as addressing other limitations of commercially available agents by increasing circulation time, stability and targeting. This minireview provides a brief overview of what cubosomes are, how they can be made, how they are characterised and also summarise the findings from the studies that have used cubosomes to develop better contrast agents for MRI, as well as highlight some potential for future developments.



Ms Joanne Du, Ms Linda Hong, Dr Angel Tan and Professor Ben Boyd published the article Naphthalocyanine as a New Photothermal Actuator for Lipid-Based Drug Delivery Systems in the Journal of Physical Chemistry (J. Phys. Chem. B2018122 (5), pp 1766–1770).



One approach to address the substantial global burden of ocular diseases such as aged related macular degeneration is using light-activated drug delivery to obviate the need for highly invasive and frequent, costly intravitreal injections. To enable such systems, new light responsive materials are required. This communication reports the use of silicon 2,3-naphthalocyanine bis(trihexylsilyloxide) (SiNC), a small molecule photosensitizer, as a new actuator for triggering light responsive lipid-based drug delivery systems. Small-angle X-ray scattering was used to confirm that the addition of SiNC imparted light sensitivity to the lipid systems, resulting in a complete phase transition within 20 s of near-infrared irradiation. The phase transition was also reversible, suggesting the potential for on-demand drug delivery. When compared to the phase transitions induced using alternative light responsive actuators, gold nanorods and graphene, there were some differences in phase behavior. Namely, the phytantriol with SiNC system transitioned directly to the inverse micellar phase, skipping the intermediate inverse hexagonal structure. The photodynamic properties and efficiency in controlling the release of drug suggest that SiNC-actuated lipid systems have the potential to reduce the burden of repeated intravitreal injections.