Healthcare applications of elastin-like polypeptide coacervates as drug delivery vehicles
Efficient drug delivery requires stimuli-responsive carriers with the possibility to trigger the release of drugs when they reach the target tissue. Elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs) are genetically engineered biopolymers that exhibit phase transition behaviour at a defined lower critical solution temperature. They are soluble below their transition temperature (Tt) and assemble into coacervates above the Tt. This transition is also reversible. The EU-funded HsrELPnano project aims to study a recently discovered heating rate-dependent assembly of ELPs and apply it to drug delivery. The objective is to design novel ELP nanocarriers that can deliver an effective treatment in vivo using triggers such as pH, redox environment or magnetic hyperthermia.