Polyglycerols in Nanomedicine
The application area of nanomedicine in human health and diseases is expanding at an unprecedented rate, and its overwhelmingsuccess critically hinges on discovery of novel polymers andmaterials with unique structural and biochemical properties. Synthesized from commercially available monomers and FDA-approved oligoglycerols, polyglycerols (PGs) have claimed a separate domain within the realm of nanomedicine by their distinctive traits of (1) well-defined topological uniformity (2) biocompatibility,and (3) multi-functionality. Over the last decades, a diverseassortment of PG motifs has been synthesized ranging from linear and dendritic (tree-like) unimolecular structures, to highlybranched, yet finitely monodispersed, cross-linked macromolecular aggregates. Owing to their nanoscale features and presence of multivalent functional groups, both linear and dendritic PGs have
enabled the power of multivalency to be harnessed at cellularlevel. No wonder that PG analogues have been ceaselessly utilized for drug and cell delivery, tissue-regeneration, and in coating applications throughout the past two decades, and the endeavor continues. This chapter presents, in a tutorial fashion, the primary synthetic routes to PGs and structural variants thereof, methods to modify the parent PG scaffolds, and a case-by-case analysis of their major discovery and application areas. We are hoping to provide the reader, in a nutshell, the broader picture of researchthat has been conducted over dendritic PGs (dPGs) in pastyears, thereby to elaborate the dazzling capacity of this multipurpose, multivalent macromolecule in the field of nanomedicine.