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J Control Release. 2005 Dec 5;109(1-3):169-88. Epub 2005 Nov 11.

Block copolymer micelles: preparation, characterization and application in drug delivery.

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Canada Research Chair in Drug Delivery, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montreal, Downtown Station, Canada.


Block copolymer micelles are generally formed by the self-assembly of either amphiphilic or oppositely charged copolymers in aqueous medium. The hydrophilic and hydrophobic blocks form the corona and the core of the micelles, respectively. The presence of a nonionic water-soluble shell as well as the scale (10-100 nm) of polymeric micelles are expected to restrict their uptake by the mononuclear phagocyte system and allow for passive targeting of cancerous or inflamed tissues through the enhanced permeation and retention effect. Research in the field has been increasingly focused on achieving enhanced stability of the micellar assembly, prolonged circulation times and controlled release of the drug for optimal targeting. With that in mind, our group has developed a range of block copolymers for various applications, including amphiphilic micelles for passive targeting of chemotherapeutic agents and environment-sensitive micelles for the oral delivery of poorly bioavailable compounds. Here, we propose to review the innovations in block copolymer synthesis, polymeric micelle preparation and characterization, as well as the relevance of these developments to the field of biomedical research.

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