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The effective and sustained delivery of DNA and siRNAs locally would increase the applicability of gene therapy in tissue regeneration and cancer therapy. One promising approach is to use hydrogel scaffolds to encapsulate and deliver nucleotides in the form of nanoparticles to the disease sites. However, this approach is currently limited by the inability to load concentrated and active gene delivery nanoparticles into the hydrogels due to the severe nanoparticle aggregation during the loading process. Here, we present a process to load concentrated and un-aggregated non-viral gene delivery nanoparticles, using DNA/polyethylene imine (PEI) polyplexes as an example, into neutral polyethylene glycol (PEG), negatively charged hyaluronic acid (HA) and protein fibrin hydrogels crosslinked through various chemistries. The encapsulated polyplexes are highly active both in vitro and in vivo. We believe this process will significantly advance the applications of hydrogel scaffold mediated non-viral gene delivery in tissue regeneration and cancer therapy.

Yuguo Lei, Suxian Huang, Pooria Sharif-Kashani, Yong Chen, Pirouz Kavehpour, Tatiana Segura

Lei, Y; Huang, S; Sharif-Kashani, P; Chen, Y; Kavehpour, P; Segura, T