Alternatives to traditional antibiotics and to antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs are much in need and the molecular design and development of anti-infective compounds constitute a pivotal area in modern medicinal research. Dendrimers are a relatively new class of structurally well-defined, i.e. monodisperse, synthetic polymers with hyperbranched structures which enable a given molecular motif to be presented in a highly multivalent fashion. Several types of dendrimers with various structural elements and molecular dimensions are commercially available at an affordable price. The surface of dendrimers can be modified relatively easily and, depending on the surface motif, the pharmacological properties of the dendrimer such as cytotoxicity, bacteriocidal and virucidal effect, biodistribution and biopermeability may be modulated to fit a specific medicinal purpose. Dendrimers are thus highly suitable tools in drug discovery and they allow the synthesis of molecules with high and specific binding affinities to a wide variety of receptors, viruses and bacteria. Hence the use of dendrimers for the development of antiviral or antibacterial drugs, destroying the infective agent or disrupting multivalent binding interactions between the infective agent and cells of the host organism has become a highly active research field. The wide range of applications reported for the use of dendrimers as anti-infective and anti-inflammatory drugs in the patent literature demonstrates the general applicability of these molecules as drug candidates. The present review will briefly treat the intrinsic properties of dendrimers in biological systems, as well as general concerns regarding the treatment of infective diseases. The use of dendrimers as anti-infective and anti-inflammatory drugs will be based on a thorough review of the recent patent literature.
Keywords: Antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, disinfectant, vaccine, anti-inflammatory, dendrimer, drug, microbicide
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