Smart polymers in drug delivery: a biological perspective
Key to the widespread application of smart polymers in drug delivery is understanding the mechanistic interplay, as well as consequence, of the presence of these macromolecules within living systems. This review looks at these interactions in terms of host response to macromolecular structure and subsequent clinical implications. In order to highlight this, three distinct routes of drug delivery are discussed, enabling a journey from the outside of the body in to the cell. This is used to contrast the need for different scientific approaches replete to successful drug delivery in these physiologically diverse areas. The discussion initiates with the application of smart polymers to the oral route of drug delivery, followed by macromolecular fate within the systemic circulation and finally intracellular delivery. The advantages, in terms of biological performance, as well as the challenges of using smart polymers within this multifaceted arena are delineated.