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Curr Drug Deliv. 2008 Apr;5(2):85-96.

Stimuli-responsive molecularly imprinted polymers for drug delivery: a review.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche, Universit√† della Calabria, Edificio Polifunzionale, Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy. francesco.puoci@unical.it


Molecular imprinting is an efficient technique for introducing regions with a highly specific molecular arrangement into a polymeric matrix. The first example of a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) was reported half a century ago; however, the use of molecular imprinting has become a well established practical tool only in the last decade. Recently, MIPs are widely used, for example, in chromatographic applications or enzyme antibody mimics. MIPs have also been used in biological applications such as drug delivery systems (DDS), and they have also been successfully applied as excipients in controlled delivery systems. Their huge potential could bring about intelligent drug release; this refers to the release, in a predictable way, of therapeutic agents in response to specific environmental stimuli (the presence of another molecule, pH changes, temperature, etc.). This review is focused on particular intelligent devices of this type that exhibit selective recognition (traps for toxic molecules) and release (of drugs in order to prolong the duration of pharmacological action) in response to specific stimuli. The "stimuli-responsive molecularly imprinted polymers" reviewed in this paper are expected to contribute significantly to the exploration and development of new generations of intelligent and self-regulated drug delivery systems.

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