The present work describes the synthesis and characterisation of PLA–co–EC copolymer from lactic acid and ethyl cellulose by azeotropic dehydration, under reduced pressure, at 140°C for eight hours. The synthesised PLA–co–EC copolymer was used for controlled drug release systems with gold nanoparticles. Fluorouracil (5–Fu) containing PLA–co–EC nanocapsules were prepared in the presence and absence of gold nanoparticles via solvent evaporation method. The drug entrapped nanocapsules were characterised by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The average diameter of gold nanoparticles was found to be in the range of 18–20 nm and size of the nanocapsules was found to be in the range of 230–260 nm. The controlled drug release of anticancer drugs entrapped nanocapsules were carried out in 0.1M HCl and 0.1M phosphate buffer (pH–7.4). Results indicated that the drug release for gold nanoparticles incorporated PLA–co–EC nanocapsules was controlled and slow compare to Fu incorporated PLA–co–EC nanocapsules. This may be due the interaction between the gold nanoparticles and fluorouracil in PLA–co–EC nanocapsules.
Keywords: nanocapsules, azeotropic dehydration, phosphate buffer, trapping, morphology, gold nanoparticles, nanotechnology, polylactic acid, lactic acid, ethyl cellulose, drug release, anticancer drugs, cancer treatment