The scientific objective of the research carried out in this International Research Staff Exchange Scheme is the design and synthesis of a novel class of biodegradable microcapsules using the mild chemistry of polysaccharides and proteins, using ultrasound-induced polymerization of macromonomers. Ultrasound induced polymerization of monomers in solution and in emulsions has been widely used in the past but so far has not been applied to polysaccharide macromonomers. In this proposal, we intend to apply this strategy to prepare oil-filled microcapsules by radical polymerisation at the oil/water interface of macromonomers. This approach can be considered as a general method for fabricating polysaccharide- and protein-based hollow microcapsules for application in both drug delivery and food science. Ultrasound will be also used as a technique for encapsulation. Microparticles will be loaded with anti-cancer agents, conventionally used for the clinical treatment of malignancies (e.g., doxorubicin) or innovative therapeutic agents as peptide nucleic acid (PNA).
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