Researchers at Sichuan University, China, have proposed an improved method to prepare honokiol-loaded micelles, which is effective, stable and safe (organic solvent and surfactant free), as well as being easy to produce and scale up. In vitro release profiles show a significant difference between the rapid release of free honokiol and the much slower and sustained release of honokiol-micelles. Furthermore, the cytotoxicity results of blank micelles and honokiol-micelles show that the blank micelle behaved as a safe carrier and the encapsulated honokiol retained its potent anti-tumour effect. The group's results suggest that honokiol-micelles might be a promising carrier for the intravenous delivery of honokiol in cancer chemotherapy.

As shown in the image above, the scientists incorporated honokiol into PEG-PCL-PEG micelles using a self-assembly procedure assisted by ultrasonication. The appearance of prepared honokiol-micelles can be seen and the clear solution of blank or honokiol-loaded micelles can also be observed. Moreover, the honokiol loaded micelles can be lyophilized into a powder form without any adjuvant, and the re-dissolved honokiol-micelles are stable and homogeneous.

TEM analysis reveals that HK-micelles formed with PEG-PCL-PEG copolymer are monodispersed, thus confirming the spherical shape of micelles in solution. The nanostructure of the micelles observed by TEM, in combination with particle size analysis, indicates that the prepared HK-micelles are stable and could be well dispersed in water.

More information can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.