, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 1-30
Date: 11 Jan 2006

Polymer Architecture and Drug Delivery

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Abstract

Polymers occupy a major portion of materials used for controlled release formulations and drug-targeting systems because this class of materials presents seemingly endless diversity in topology and chemistry. This is a crucial advantage over other classes of materials to meet the ever-increasing requirements of new designs of drug delivery formulations. The polymer architecture (topology) describes the shape of a single polymer molecule. Every natural, seminatural, and synthetic polymer falls into one of categorized architectures: linear, graft, branched, cross-linked, block, star-shaped, and dendron/dendrimer topology. Although this topic spans a truly broad area in polymer science, this review introduces polymer architectures along with brief synthetic approaches for pharmaceutical scientists who are not familiar with polymer science, summarizes the characteristic properties of each architecture useful for drug delivery applications, and covers recent advances in drug delivery relevant to polymer architecture.