Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MSChE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Chemical and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Thomas Dziubla


Radiotherapy is used as a primary treatment for many cancers, including lung cancer. Although radiotherapy has proven to be an effective cancer treatment, its use is heavily limited due to the peripheral toxicity to healthy tissue. In this work, the antioxidant, curcumin, was tested as a radioprotectant to reduce radiation damage to healthy cells. Curcumin has been limited in use due to its poor bioavailability. In order to avoid problems associated with free curcumin delivery, curcumin poly(beta-amino ester) (CPBAE) was synthesized.

The first study investigated the in vitro radioprotection effect of curcumin in HUVEC dosed with gamma radiation. Cells treated with curcumin showed significantly less ROS development compared to both untreated radiated and non-radiated cells. Cells treated with curcumin showed a decrease in viability for both radiated and non-radiated cells. Curcumin pretreatment exhibited no reduction in γ-H2AX foci formation in cells after radiation damage. These results indicate that curcumin does not radioprotect cells in an in vitro model.

In a second study, curcumin was polymerized using a Michael addition reaction to create a hydrolytically degradable poly(beta-amino ester). Curcumin multiacrylate and isobutylamine reacted to form curcumin poly(beta-amino ester) (CPBAE). This polymer’s chemical structure and properties were characterized and nanoparticles were made from the polymer. Nanoparticles synthesized were able to successfully release curcumin through degradation, but at a low efficiency and extended time scale.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)