Synthetic approaches to uniform polymers☆

Ali, M. and Brocchini, S. (2006) Synthetic approaches to uniform polymers☆. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 58 (15). pp. 1671-1687. 10.1016/j.addr.2006.10.002.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.addr.2006.10.002


Uniform polymers are characterised by a narrow molecular weight distribution (MWD). Uniformity is also defined by chemical structure in respect of (1) monomer orientation, sequence and stereo-regularity, (2) polymer shape and morphology and (3) chemical functionality. The function of natural polymers such as polypeptides and polynucleotides is related to their conformational structure (e.g. folded tertiary structure). This is only possible because of their high degree of uniformity. While completely uniform synthetic polymers are rare, polymers with broad structure and MWD are widely used in medicine and the biomedical sciences. They are integral components in final dosage forms, drug delivery systems (DDS) and in implantable devices. Increasingly uniform polymers are being used to develop more complex medicines (e.g. delivery of biopharmaceuticals, enhanced formulations or DDS's for existing actives). In addition to the function imparted by any new polymer it will be required to meet stringent specifications in terms of cost containment, scalability, biocompatibility and performance. Synthetic polymers with therapeutic activity are also being developed to exploit their polyvalent properties, which is not possible with low molecular weight molecules. There is need to utilise uniform polymers for applications where the polymer may interact with the systemic circulation, tissues or cellular environment. There are also potential applications (e.g. stimuli responsive coatings) where uniform polymers may be used for their more defined property profile. While it is not yet practical to prepare synthetic polymers to the same high degree of uniformity as proteins, nature also effectively utilises many polymers with lower degrees of uniformity (e.g. polysaccharides, poly(amino acids), polyhydroxyalkanoates). In recent years it has become possible to prepare with practical experimental protocols sufficient quantities of polymers that display many aspects of uniformity. This review describes practical strategies for polymer synthesis focusing on addition processes that have been developed that allow narrow MWD polymers to be prepared. Also described are some examples where aspects of polymer uniformity in terms of molecular weight and/or chemical constitution are exploited for their unique properties.

Item Type:Article
Departments, units and centres:Department of Pharmaceutics > Department of Pharmaceutics
ID Code:2140
Journal or Publication Title:Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Deposited By:Library Staff
Deposited On:26 May 2011 11:27
Last Modified:26 May 2011 11:27


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