Stimuli-responsive theragrippers for chemomechanical controlled release

Kate Malachowski, Joyce Breger, Hye Rin Kwag, Martha O. Wang, John P. Fisher, Florin M. Selaru, David H. Gracias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


We report on a therapeutic approach using thermo-responsive multi-fingered drug eluting devices. These therapeutic grippers referred to as theragrippers are shaped using photolithographic patterning and are composed of rigid poly(propylene fumarate) segments and stimuli-responsive poly(N- isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic acid) hinges. They close above 32 °C allowing them to spontaneously grip onto tissue when introduced from a cold state into the body. Due to porosity in the grippers, theragrippers could also be loaded with fluorescent dyes and commercial drugs such as mesalamine and doxorubicin, which eluted from the grippers for up to seven days with first order release kinetics. In an in vitro model, theragrippers enhanced delivery of doxorubicin as compared to a control patch. We also released theragrippers into a live pig and visualized release of dye in the stomach. The design of such tissue gripping drug delivery devices offers an effective strategy for sustained release of drugs with immediate applicability in the gastrointestinal tract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8045-8049
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number31
StatePublished - Jul 28 2014


  • actuators
  • drug delivery
  • hydrogels
  • polymers
  • soft robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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