Compositions and methods of making a modified polyhydroxylated polymer comprising a polyhydroxylated polymer having reversibly modified hydroxyl groups, whereby the hydroxyl groups are modified by an acid-catalyzed reaction between a polydroxylated polymer and a reagent such as acetals, aldehydes, vinyl ethers and ketones such that the modified polyhydroxylated polymers become insoluble in water but freely soluble in common organic solvents allowing for the facile preparation of acid-sensitive materials. Materials made from these polymers can be made to degrade in a pH-dependent manner. Both hydrophobic and hydrophilic cargoes were successfully loaded into particles made from the present polymers using single and double emulsion techniques, respectively. Due to its ease of preparation, processability, pH-sensitivity, and biocompatibility, of the present modified polyhydroxylated polymers should find use in numerous drug delivery applications.
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 This invention was made during work partially supported by National Institutes of Health under Grant RO1GM44885-16 and Grant RO1 EB005824 and the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. The government has certain rights in this invention.