Journal article Open Access

Smart branched polymer drug conjugates as nano-sized drug delivery systems

Aroa Duro-Castaño; Julie Movellan; Maria J. Vicent

Polymer–drug conjugates represent excellent nanopharmaceutical candidates, as they offer multiple advantages related to their intrinsic characteristics. Many of the said characteristics are provided by the covalent bonding between the drug and the polymer. However, their clinical development has been slow and only one polymer–drug conjugate has reached the market, thus there remains an urgent need for the development of new and smart polymeric systems. Desirable characteristics of these new systems include higher molecular weight and degree of homogeneity, predictable conformations in solution, multivalency, and increased drug loading capacity, amongst others. With these aims in mind, branched polymers are ideal candidates due to their unique rheological, mechanical, and biomedical properties derived from their structure, inaccessible for linear polymers. Within this review, the synthetic strategies developed and the main efforts towards branched polymer implementation as carriers for polymer–drug conjugates will be addressed.

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