Self-assembly of Cytotoxic Peptide Amphiphiles into Supramolecular Membranes for Cancer Therapy

R. Helen Zha, Shantanu Sur, Samuel I. Stupp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Peptide amphiphiles (PAs) provide a versatile platform for the design of complex and functional material constructs for biomedical applications. The hierarchical self-assembly of PAs with biopolymers is used to create robust hybrid membranes with molecular order on the micron scale. Fabrication of membranes by assembling hyaluronic acid with positively charged PA nanostructures containing anti-cancer PAs bearing a (KLAKLAK)2 peptide sequence is reported here. Changes in membrane microstructure as the positively charged PA nanostructures vary from cylindrical nanofibers to spherical aggregates are characterized. Results indicate that formation of highly aligned fibrous membranes requires a threshold concentration of nanofibers in solution. Additionally, variation of PA nanostructure morphology from spherical aggregates to cylindrical nanofibers allows membranes to act either as reservoirs for sustained release of cytotoxicity upon enzymatic degradation or as membranes with surface-bound cytotoxicity, respectively. Thus, the self-assembly processes of these PA-biopolymer membranes can be potentially used to design delivery platforms for anti-cancer therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Breast cancer
  • Drug delivery
  • Membranes
  • Peptide amphiphiles
  • Self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science

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