CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 289–297 | Cite as

A Custom Radiopaque Thermoresponsive Chemotherapy-Loaded Hydrogel for Intratumoural Injection: An In Vitro and Ex Vivo Assessment of Imaging Characteristics and Material Properties

  • Seóna M. Rossi
  • Timothy E. Murray
  • John Cassidy
  • Michael J. Lee
  • Helena M. KellyEmail author
Laboratory Investigation



Thermoresponsive hydrogels are gels which have different properties at varying temperatures. The objective of this study was to assess the material characteristics, imaging properties and chemotherapeutic drug release profile of a novel radiopaque thermoresponsive hydrogel in vitro, which is liquid at room temperature but solidifies at body temperature, to determine potential suitability for intratumoural delivery.

Materials and Methods

An iodinated radiopaque thermoresponsive hydrogel was formulated using iodixanol at a range of concentrations and assessed for sol–gel transition, radiopacity and imaging using CT and US. A lead formulation containing iodixanol at a concentration of 9.22% weight by weight (w/w, g of iodixanol per g of hydrogel) was evaluated in vitro for injectability, disintegration and dual drug release of cisplatin and paclitaxel from the hydrogel formulation.


Radiopacity of the hydrogel increased in a concentration-dependent manner, but the highest concentration of iodixanol evaluated in this study (13.83% w/w) adversely affected the sol–gel transition of the hydrogel; therefore, 9.22% w/w iodixanol hydrogel was identified as the lead formulation. This formulation was readily visible on both CT and US. The formulation was hand injectable through a range of clinically relevant devices, had a sustained disintegration profile for up to 28 days and was able to deliver a sustained release of chemotherapeutic drug for up to 10 days.


Favourable in vitro and ex vivo imaging and material characteristics of this thermoresponsive gel are demonstrated, suggesting potential interventional oncology applications for image-guided intratumoural delivery of sustained-release chemotherapy.


Thermoresponsive hydrogel Intratumoural injection Radiopaque Chemotherapy 



This study was funded by an Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund (CF-2016-0431P) and a Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland School of Pharmacy bursary.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

For this type of study, informed consent is not required.

Consent for Publication

For this type of study consent for publication is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature and the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PharmacyRoyal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)Dublin 2Ireland
  2. 2.Tissue Engineering Research Group, Department of AnatomyRoyal College of Surgeons in IrelandDublin 2Ireland
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyBeaumont HospitalDublin 9Ireland
  4. 4.School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical SciencesDublin Institute of TechnologyDublin 2Ireland

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