Smart multifunctional polymeric nanocarriers able to respond to physicochemical changes in their environment
or to external stimuli represent a new paradigm in the field of pharmaceutical formulations for controlled drug delivery.
The introductory part of the present review deals with this new concept and presents the main advantages resulting from
the use of such nanovehicles instead of conventional, much larger drug delivery systems. The access to drug nanocarriers
based on smart supramolecular polymeric materials is primarily limited by the available polymerization methods capable
to produce polymers with low polydispersity index, as well as much more complex macromolecular architectures with
strictly controlled chemical composition, such as block copolymers and star or graft polymers or copolymers. This article
reviews the state-of-the art in controlled/"living" free radical polymerization techniques as well as ring opening polymerization
methods. Nitroxide mediated free radical polymerization (NMP), atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), reversible
addition-fragmentation chain-transfer polymerization (RAFT), single electron transfer-living radical polymerization
(SET-LRP), single electron transfer-nitroxide radical coupling reaction (SET-NRC), cationic ring opening polymerization
(CROP), anionic ring opening polymerization (AROP), and metal catalyzed ring opening polymerization are described,
highlighting their mechanistic details and their synthetic potential as well as their limitations. The final part of the
article is dedicated to a special type of unimolecular, monodisperse nanocarriers - the dendrimers. Both divergent and
convergent approaches to dendrimer synthesis are described along with the therapeutic applications taking advantage of
the unique branched tree-like globular structure of dendrimers to treat cancer.
Keywords: AROP, ATRP, complex macromolecular architectures, controlled/"living" free radical polymerization, controlled
drug delivery, convergent synthesis, CROP, dendrimers, divergent synthesis, metal catalyzed ring opening polymerization,
NMP, RAFT, SET-LRP, SET-NRC, smart multifunctional nanocarriers.
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport