Polymer-Based Drug Delivery

Polymer-based drug delivery refers to the use of polymers, which are large molecules composed of repeating subunits, as carriers for delivering drugs to specific targets in the body. These polymers can be designed to encapsulate drugs, protect them from degradation, control their release rate, and target specific tissues or cells.

There are several types of polymer-based drug delivery systems:

  • Micelles: These are self-assembled structures formed by amphiphilic block copolymers in aqueous solution. They can encapsulate hydrophobic drugs in their core while presenting a hydrophilic shell, making them suitable for delivering poorly water-soluble drugs.
  • Nanoparticles: Polymeric nanoparticles can be designed to encapsulate drugs within their matrix or conjugate drugs onto their surface. They offer controlled release kinetics and can be engineered for specific targeting through surface modifications.
  • Hydrogels: These are three-dimensional networks of hydrophilic polymers that can absorb and retain large amounts of water. Hydrogels can be loaded with drugs and implanted at the site of action for sustained release over time.
  • Polymersomes:These are vesicular structures formed by amphiphilic block copolymers. They resemble liposomes but offer greater stability and versatility in terms of membrane composition and drug encapsulation.
  • Polymeric Prodrugs: Polymers can be conjugated to drugs to form prodrugs, which are inactive or less active forms of the drug. Upon reaching the target site, the polymer can be cleaved off, releasing the active drug.
  • Dendrimers: These are highly branched polymers with a defined structure. Dendrimers can be functionalized with drugs and targeting ligands, offering precise control over drug loading and release kinetics.

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