Current Opinion in Biomedical Engineering
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Early biomedical applications of polymers were in areas such as joint replacements and often involved durable polymers. However, biodegradable polymers are increasingly being used to perform temporary functions such as drug delivery or supporting cells, after which they can break down and be eliminated from the body. Polymers that degrade specifically in response to stimuli offer additional opportunities to control when and where this degradation occurs, enabling enhanced functions such as site-specific drug release and the early detection of disease. In this article, we will discuss recent advancements in the design, preparation, and application of stimuli-responsive polymer degradation. In particular, we will highlight the introduction of new linkers, and advanced multifunctional systems. Recent approaches towards maximizing the responses to stimuli, including self-immolative and self-amplifying polymers, will also be highlighted. Finally, some of the challenges in applying these more complex, functional polymers will be discussed, along with important areas for future research.
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Available for download on Friday, March 01, 2024