OVER the last quarter century we have seen the field of biorelated polymers for medical applications undergo a dramatic transition from the pragmatic and/or serendipic approach to applying basic research principles. Specifically, we have seen the development of many new polymeric materials for intended applications and solutions to problems related to those applications.
The development during this time has been dynamic with the consistent emergence of new findings. Consequently, one can anticipate a literal explosion of new clinical products and applications that will be derived from this multidisciplinary field in the next millenium.
The basis of this book is to expose the reader to the important areas of synthetic biorelated polymers systems and the potential impact they will have in the 21st Century. Consequently, we deliberated over the appropriate areas to be covered in this book, what value these would provide, and who could benefit. The chapters are written to emphasize the chemical and physical properties of several unique polymer systems and the many stages involved in their physiological adaptations to achieve an intended utilization. The importance of multidisciplinary knowledge and skills are unprecedented since the field encompasses chemistry, materials science, engineering, biochemistry, biophysics, pharmacology, physiology, and clinical studies.
There are 22 chapters in the book and they cover the most important aspects of polymers as drugs, prodrugs, drug delivery systems, and in situ prostheses. The major features promulgated are synthesis, derivatization, degradation, characterization, application, and evaluation techniques as well as new biodegradable materials, assemblies, hydrogels, telechelic polymers, derivatized polysaccharides, micro- and nanoparticles, mimetic protein networks, and interpenetrating polymers. Polymer drug design for enhanced physiological drug distribution, drug targeting, time-controlled release, and sensor-responsive release are also presented. In addition, accounts are given on in situ probes, microparticle diagnostic agents, and sensor devises.
We wish to thank the contributors to this publication who are outstanding representatives of the multidisciplinary sciences necessary to so fruitfully accomplish the work that has been so elegantly described