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Biotechnol Adv. 2014 Jul-Aug;32(4):818-30. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2013.12.008. Epub 2014 Jan 3.

Functional and biodegradable dendritic macromolecules with controlled architectures as nontoxic and efficient nanoscale gene vectors.

Author information

  • 1National Engineering Research Center for Biomaterials, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064, China.
  • 2Key Laboratory of Biomass Chemical Engineering of Ministry of Education, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China; Center for Bionanoengineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China. Electronic address: shenyq@zju.edu.cn.
  • 3National Engineering Research Center for Biomaterials, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064, China. Electronic address: zwgu@scu.edu.cn.


Gene therapy has provided great potential to revolutionize the treatment of many diseases. This therapy is strongly relied on whether a delivery vector efficiently and safely directs the therapeutic genes into the target tissue/cells. Nonviral gene delivery vectors have been emerging as a realistic alternative to the use of viral analogs with the potential of a clinically relevant output. Dendritic polymers were employed as nonviral vectors due to their branched and layered architectures, globular shape and multivalent groups on their surface, showing promise in gene delivery. In the present review, we try to bring out the recent trend of studies on functional and biodegradable dendritic polymers as nontoxic and efficient gene delivery vectors. By regulating dendritic polymer design and preparation, together with recent progress in the design of biodegradable polymers, it is possible to precisely manipulate their architectures, molecular weight and chemical composition, resulting in predictable tuning of their biocompatibility as well as gene transfection activities. The multifunctional and biodegradable dendritic polymers possessing the desirable characteristics are expected to overcome extra- and intracellular obstacles, and as efficient and nontoxic gene delivery vectors to move into the clinical arena.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Biocompatibility; Biodegradable; Dendrimer; Dendritic polymers; Functionalization; Gene therapy; Gene transfection; Gene vectors

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