Actinic Keratosis’ (AKs) are small skin lesions that are related to a prolonged sun-damage, which can develop into invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) when left untreated. Effective, specific and well tolerable therapies to cure AKs are still of great interest. Diclofenac (DCF) is the current gold standard for the local treatment of AKs in terms of costs, effectiveness, side effects and tolerability. In this work, an electrospun polylactic acid (PLA) scaffold loaded with a synthetic DCF prodrug was developed and characterized. Specifically, the prodrug was successfully synthetized by binding DCF to a glycine residue via solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) and then incorporated in an electrospun PLA scaffold. The drug encapsulation was verified using multiphoton microscopy (MPM) and its scaffold release was spectrophotometrically monitored and confirmed with MPM. The scaffold was further characterized with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), tensile testing and contact angle measurements. Its biocompatibility was verified by performing a cell proliferation assay and compared to PLA scaffolds containing the same amount of DCF sodium salt (DCFONa). Finally, the effect of the electrospun scaffolds on human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) morphology and metabolism was investigated by combining MPM with fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). The obtained results suggest that the obtained scaffold could be suitable for the controlled and targeted delivery of the synthesized prodrug for the treatment of AKs.
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