Biodegradable polymeric systems represent promising means for delivering many bioactive agents, including peptide and protein drugs. The importance of these systems grew with the advancement in the understanding of peptide and protein pharmacology as well as the ability to mass-produce these compounds. Some polymers undergo sol-gel transition once administered. In situ gel formation happens in response to one or a combination of two or more stimuli. These stimuli include UV-irradiation, pH change, temperature change, and solvent exchange. These smart polymeric systems have several advantages over conventional methods, such as ease of manufacturing, ease of administration, biodegradability, and the ability to alter release profiles of the incorporated agents. In the past few years, an increasing number of in situ gel-forming systems have been investigated and many patents for their use in various biomedical applications, including drug delivery, have been reported. In this article, we introduce the different strategies that have been developed and patented for the use of smart polymers in delivering peptide and protein drugs. The advantage, disadvantages, possibilities, and limitations of each of the smart polymer systems have been discussed.
Drug delivery, controlled release, smart polymer, in situ, injectable, peptide, protein
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105, USA.