Author(s): Svenson S, Tomalia DA
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Abstract The formation of particulate systems with well-defined sizes and shapes is of eminent interest in certain medical applications such as drug delivery, gene transfection, and imaging. The high level of control possible over the architectural design of dendrimers; their size, shape, branching length/density, and their surface functionality, clearly distinguishes these structures as unique and optimum carriers in those applications. The bioactive agents may be encapsulated into the interior of the dendrimers or chemically attached/physically adsorbed onto the dendrimer surface, with the option of tailoring the carrier to the specific needs of the active material and its therapeutic applications. In this regard, the high density of exo-presented surface groups allows attachment of targeting groups or functionality that may modify the solution behavior or toxicity of dendrimers. Quite remarkably, modified dendrimers have been shown to act as nano-drugs against tumors, bacteria, and viruses. Recent successes in simplifying and optimizing the synthesis of dendrimers such as the 'lego' and 'click' approaches, provide a large variety of structures while at the same time reducing the cost of their production. The reflections on biomedical applications of dendrimers given in this review clearly demonstrate the potential of this new fourth major class of polymer architecture and indeed substantiate the high hopes for the future of dendrimers.
This article was published in Adv Drug Deliv Rev
and referenced in Journal of Material Sciences & Engineering