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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2003 Apr 25;55(4):467-82.

Biodegradable polyphosphazenes for drug delivery applications.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Biodegradable polymers such as poly(alpha-hydroxy acids), poly(anhydrides), poly(ortho esters), poly(amino acids) and polyphosphazenes have raised considerable interest as short-term medical implants due to their transient nature. Among these, polyphosphazenes are a relatively new class of polymers, quite distinct from all the biodegradable polymers synthesized so far, due to their synthetic flexibility and versatile adaptability for applications. These are high molecular weight, essentially linear polymers with an inorganic backbone of alternating phosphorous and nitrogen atoms bearing two side groups attached to each phosphorous atom. Controlled tuning of physico-chemical properties, including biodegradability, can be achieved in this class of polymers via macromolecular substitutions. Biodegradable polyphosphazenes, due to their hydrolytic instability, nontoxic degradation products, ease of fabrication and matrix permeability, are an excellent platform for controlled drug delivery applications. This review discusses the mode of degradation and drug delivery applications of biodegradable polyphosphazenes.

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