Advances in Drug-delivery Systems Based on Intrinsically Conducting Polymers
Intrinsically conducting polymers (ICPs) are organic polymers with unique capabilities including the ability to conduct electricity. The release of drugs from ICP-based drug delivery systems can be controlled using electrical signaling to alter the redox state of the ICP, leading to subsequent changes in polymer charge and volume. The increasing use of ICPs in drug delivery systems can be attributed to their biocompatible nature and the ability to regulate drug release electrically. Drug can be easily incorporated into these polymers by physical and chemical means. As the release of the drugs from ICPs is in accordance with electrical stimulus the therapeutic effect can be maximized with a reduction in the side effects. In this chapter a general overview of ICPs, their electrochemical properties and the techniques used to characterize these materials with specifics pertaining to drug delivery is provided. Emphasis is given to advances in methods and technology to enhance the drug-loading capacity of these polymers and to achieve precise controlled therapy. The chapter discusses some of the exciting applications of ICPs as devices for controlled delivery of drugs to desired locations.