Dendrimers for Drug Delivery
Dendrimers are highly branched macromolecules that have a well defined structure, allowing the precise control of size and shape, as well as terminal group functionality.
The structure of dendrimers can be subdivided into three architectural components: a central core branched cell, interior branched cells and branched cells possessing surface groups. Dendrimers can be synthesized by either a divergent or a convergent method. Dendrimers are amenable to modifications in shape, size, polarity, surface properties and internal structure, and have been considered as potential drug carriers because of their spherical three-dimensional highly uniform structure, the availability of many surface functional groups, their low polydispersity and their mimicry of biological molecules such as proteins and lipids. We have demonstrated the utility of dendrimers to enhance the cellular delivery of drugs. Dendrimers can cross cellular barriers such as the gastrointestinal tract and the blood-brain barrier, providing the opportunity for pharmaceutical scientists to overcome major delivery challenges.