Molecular engineering of peptide-based hydrogels for sustained drug release

Project Details


Peptide Hydrogels are swollen networks of self-assembled peptide nanofibers that contain large amounts of water. An important characteristic of such hydrogels is that they can be aspirated and injected through a standard needle. Recently, we developed such peptide hydrogels that extended the pain killing effect of morphine form several hours up to 3-4 days. However, further extension of the sustained release time is required for future clinical applications.

This project will take up this challenge of further extending the sustained drug release profile of peptide hydrogels by further modification of the chemical structure of the peptides aiming to stabilize the hydrogel formation by enhancing the supramolecular interactions in the peptide assemblies. This unprecedented approach is inspired by our very recent insights that the hydrogel drug release mechanism is based on hydrogel erosion. It is anticipated that at the end of this
project, a set of peptide hydrogelators will be developed that allow sustained in vivo release of drug cargos over extended periods of time up to at least a week and a first in vivo proof of concept for over a week efficacy of an opioid peptide hydrogel formulation is foreseen.
Effective start/end date1/01/1931/12/22


  • molecular studies

Flemish discipline codes

  • Medicinal and biomolecular chemistry not elsewhere classified