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Local delivery of DNA through a hydrogel scaffold would increase the applicability of gene therapy in tissue regeneration and cancer therapy. However, the delivery of DNA/cationic polymer nanoparticles (polyplexes) using hydrogels is challenging due to the aggregation and inactivation of polyplexes during their incorporation into hydrogel scaffolds. We developed a novel process (termed caged nanoparticle encapsulation or CnE) to load concentrated and unaggregated non-viral gene delivery nanoparticles into various hydrogels. Previously, we showed that PEG hydrogels loaded with DNA/PEI polyplexes through this process were able to deliver genes both in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we found that hyaluronic acid and fibrin hydrogels with concentrated and unaggregated polyplexes loaded through CnE were able to deliver genes in vivo as well, demonstrating the universality of the process.

Yuguo Lei, Maha Rahim, Quinn Ng, Tatiana Segura

Lei, Y; Rahim, M; Ng, Q; Segura, T