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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2008 Jun 10;60(9):1018-36. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2008.02.006. Epub 2008 Feb 26.

Advances in the synthesis of amphiphilic block copolymers via RAFT polymerization: stimuli-responsive drug and gene delivery.

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Department of Polymer Science, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406, USA.


Controlled/'living' radical polymerization methods, including the versatile reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization process, are rapidly moving to the forefront in construction of drug and gene delivery vehicles. The RAFT technique allows an unprecedented latitude in the synthesis of water soluble or amphiphilic architectures with precise dimensions and appropriate functionality for attachment and targeted delivery of diagnostic and therapeutic agents. This review focuses on the chemistry of the RAFT process and its potential for preparing well-defined block copolymers and conjugates capable of stimuli-responsive assembly and release of bioactive agents in the physiological environment. Recent examples of block copolymers with designed structures and segmental compositions responsive to changes in pH or temperature are reviewed and hurdles facing further development of these novel systems are discussed.

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