Dendrimers : Polymers of 21st Century
Dendrimer is coined from two greek words - dendron, meaning tree, and meros, meaning part.
A dendrimer is generally described as a macromolecule, which is characterized by its highly branched 3D structure that provides a high degree of surface functionality and versatility. Dendrimers have often been refered to as the “Polymers of the 21st century”.
The word “dendrimer” originated from two words, the Greek word dendron, meaning tree, and meros, meaning part. At the same time, Newkome’s group independently reported synthesis of similar macromolecules. They called them arborols from the Latin word ‘arbor’ also meaning a tree. The term cascade molecule is also used, but ‘dendrimer’ is the best established one. Due to their multivalent and monodisperse character, dendrimers have stimulated wide interest in the field of chemistry and biology, especially in applications like drug delivery, gene therapy and chemotherapy.
Nanoparticle drug-delivery systems are the popular ones as are able to increase the selectivity and stability of therapeutic agents. However reticuloendothelial system (RES) uptake, drug leakage, immunogenicity, hemolytic toxicity, cytotoxicity, hydrophobicity restrict the use of these nanostructures. These shortcomings are overcome by surface engineering the dendrimer such as Polyester dendrimer, Citric acid dendrimer, Arginine dendrimer, Glycodendrimers, PEGylated dendrimers, etc. The bioactive agents can be easily encapsulated into the interior of the dendrimers or chemically attached i.e. conjugated or physically adsorbed onto the dendrimer surface, serving the desired properties of the carrier to the specific needs of the active material and its therapeutic applications. In addition to supplying a multivalent backbone for drug attachment, dendrimers also provide access to various new polymer architectures that are potentially relevant to drug delivery applications.
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