A Platform Approach for Free Radical-Mediated Targeted Therapeutic Delivery

Invention Summary:

Various pathological states including tissue injuries, inflammation, degenerative diseases and cancer are frequently associated with elevated free radicals, such as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. These locally-generated free radicals are extremely reactive and are known to damage cells and tissues to exacerbate the pathology. Rutgers scientists have developed a novel strategy that aims to harness the reactivity of these free radicals to target and sustain the delivery of therapeutics.

The therapeutic is conjugated to a biomaterial that reacts with free radicals to crosslink. Elevated levels of free radicals at the site of injury or disease lead to crosslinking locally, thereby immobilizing the conjugated therapeutics at the site of injury. In addition, the crosslinking process itself also consumes free radicals, which can reduce radical-mediated damage.

One example application is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Following TBI, free radicals are produced by a number of mechanisms and contribute to the propagation of damage long after the initial trauma. This novel approach described above has the potential to enhance neuronal survival and recovery following TBI by protecting cells and tissue from free radicals while simultaneously targeting and sustaining the delivery of trophic, regenerative and neuroprotective factors.

Similarly, biomaterials conjugated with image-enhancing agents can be used for early detection of diseases that are associated with increased free radical generation. For example, pro-inflammatory cells that infiltrate the tumor microenvironment produce high levels of free radicals. This approach can potentially facilitate the detection of early stage tumors without the need for ligand-specific markers.

Market Applications:

  • Targeted delivery of bioactive materials such as therapeutics, trophic factors and micronutrients
  • Free radical scavenger – prevention of secondary injury
  • Applicable to a variety of diseases associated with elevated level of free radicals
  • Imaging/detection of early stage diseases


  • Low cost
  • Targeted delivery of treatment
  • Adaptable to various injuries or diseases
  • Biocompatible & biodegradable

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending, available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Lisa Lyu
Assistant Director
Rutgers University
Drug Delivery