Drug-free macromolecular therapeutics – a new paradigm in polymeric nanomedicines
This review highlights a unique research area in polymer-based nanomedicine designs. Drug-free macromolecular therapeutics induce apoptosis of malignant cells by the crosslinking of surface non-internalizing receptors. The receptor crosslinking is mediated by the biorecognition of high-fidelity natural binding motifs (such as antiparallel coiled-coil peptides or complementary oligonucleotides) that are grafted to the side chains of polymers or attached to targeting moieties against cell receptors. This approach features the absence of low-molecular-weight cytotoxic compounds. Here, we summarize the rationales, different designs, and advantages of drug-free macromolecular therapeutics. Recent developments of novel therapeutic systems for B-cell lymphomas are discussed, as well as relevant approaches for other diseases. We conclude by pointing out various potential future directions in this exciting new field.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Polymeric biomaterials for cancer nanotechnology