University of Limerick
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Copolyelectrolyte-based nanocapsules for oral monoclonal antibody therapy: A mesoscale modeling survey

journal contribution
posted on 2023-12-05, 12:13 authored by Sousa Javan NikkahSousa Javan Nikkah, DAMIEN THOMPSONDAMIEN THOMPSON

Antibody therapy generally requires parenteral injection to attain the required bioavailability and pharmacokinetics, but improved formulations may slow enzymatic degradation of the antibody in the gastrointestinal tract, permitting the use of noninvasive oral delivery. Rationally designed carrier materials can potentially improve therapeutic activity both by shielding fragile biopharmaceuticals from proteolytic degradation and targeting specific receptors in vivo. One potentially useful class of protein carriers is block copolyelectrolytes, one polyelectrolyte plus one neutral hydrophilic polymer block, that self-assemble into stable micelles, providing a simple and biocompatible nanocapsule separating the protein from the outer medium. Here, we develop and implement an integrated mesoscale model to design molecular structures for block copolyelectrolyte nanocapsules predicted to protect Trastuzumab, an antibody used to treat breast cancer, in the low pH gastrointestinal tract and to selectively release this antibody in the more neutral intestinal environment. The simulations show a tightly packed self-assembled core–shell structure at pH = 3 that is ruptured and dynamically reassembled into a weaker structure at pH = 7. Our model identifies that the designed block copolyelectrolyte characteristics, such as block length ratio, can control the level of drug protection and release in vivo, providing simple design rules for engineering polyelectrolyte-based formulations that may allow oral administration of targeted antibody chemotherapies.


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Biomacromolecules 2022, 23, (9), pp. 3875–3886


American Chemical Society


© 2022 ACS This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Journal Title, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see

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