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Pure Appl. Chem., 2007, Vol. 79, No. 9, pp. 1521-1530

Biologically active polymeric sequestrants: Design, synthesis, and therapeutic applications

Pradeep K. Dhal, Chad C. Huval and S. Randall Holmes-Farley

Drug and Biomaterials R&D, Genzyme Corporation, 153 Second Avenue, Waltham, MA 02451, USA

Abstract: In recent years, functional polymers exhibiting inherently biological activities have been receiving increasing attention as polymer-based human therapeutic agents. These polymeric drugs exhibit unique pharmaceutical properties that are fundamentally different from their traditional small-molecule counterparts. However, unlike polymeric drug delivery systems, examples of polymers possessing intrinsically therapeutic properties are relatively scarce. By virtue of their high-molecular-weight characteristics, these polymeric drugs can be confined to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, where they can selectively recognize, bind, and remove target disease-causing substances from the body. Being confined to the GI tract and non-biodegradable, these polymeric drugs are free from toxic effects that are associated with traditional systemic drugs. This report highlights recent developments in the rational design and synthesis of appropriate functional polymers that have resulted in a number of promising polymer-based therapeutic agents, including some marketed products.