Polymeric drugs: Advances in the development of pharmacologically active polymers

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Abstract

Synthetic polymers play a critical role in pharmaceutical discovery and development. Current research and applications of pharmaceutical polymers are mainly focused on their functions as excipients and inert carriers of other pharmacologically active agents. This review article surveys recent advances in alternative pharmaceutical use of polymers as pharmacologically active agents known as polymeric drugs. Emphasis is placed on the benefits of polymeric drugs that are associated with their macromolecular character and their ability to explore biologically relevant multivalency processes. We discuss the main therapeutic uses of polymeric drugs as sequestrants, antimicrobials, antivirals, and anticancer and anti-inflammatory agents.

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