Polyethylene glycol–gum acacia-based multidrug delivery system for controlled delivery of anticancer drugs

  • V. O. Fasiku
  • B. A. AderibigbeEmail author
  • E. R. Sadiku
  • Y. Lemmer
  • S. J. Owonubi
  • S. S. Ray
  • E. MukwevhoEmail author
Original Paper


Breast cancer is a chronic disease that is characterized by an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells from the breast tissue. It is one of the leading causes of mortality among women worldwide because of its early metastasis, aggressive behavior and resistance to the currently used anticancer drugs. Most of these drugs suffer from poor absorption and toxicity, and lack long-term efficaciousness because of drug resistance. Recently, polymeric thermosensitive hydrogels have emerged as excellent drug delivery systems for anticancer drugs with the potential to improve the overall therapeutic effect of the incorporated drug. In this current research, doxorubicin and curcumin were loaded into biodegradable PEG–gum acacia-based hydrogels. These hydrogels were pH-sensitive, biodegradable and non-toxic. The release mechanism of the drugs from the hydrogels was pH-dependent. In vitro cytotoxicity studies on MCF-7 cancer cell lines further confirmed that the incorporation of doxorubicin and curcumin into the hydrogels resulted in significant cytotoxic effect when compared to the free drugs, suggesting that these hydrogels are potential dual-drug delivery systems. The cytotoxic effect was dose- and time-dependent.

Graphical abstract


Breast cancer Hydrogel Dual-drug delivery systems Curcumin Doxorubicin 



The financial supports from the National Research Foundation (NRF), the South Africa Medical Research Council (Self-Initiated Research) (MRC) and the North-West University (NWU), South Africa, toward this research are hereby acknowledged. The views and opinions expressed in this manuscript are those of the authors and not of NWU, MRC or NRF.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological ScienceNorth-West UniversityMmabathoSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of Fort HareAliceSouth Africa
  3. 3.Institute of Nano Engineering Research (INER) and Department of Chemical, Metallurgical and Materials EngineeringTshwane University of TechnologyPretoriaSouth Africa
  4. 4.CSIR Biosciences, CSIRPretoriaSouth Africa
  5. 5.DST/CSIR National Centre for Nanostructured MaterialsCouncil for Scientific and Industrial ResearchPretoriaSouth Africa
  6. 6.Department of Applied ChemistryUniversity of JohannesburgDoornfontein, JohannesburgSouth Africa
  7. 7.Department of ChemistryUniversity of ZululandKwaDlangezwaSouth Africa

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