Dendrimerrelated Delivery Agents 651 Properties of Dendrimers

Dendrimers are synthetic polymers with a well-defined globular structure. As shown in Figure 6.2, they are composed of a core molecule, repeat units that have three or more functionalities, and reactive surface groups.35,36 Two techniques have been used to synthesize these macromolecules: divergent growth outwards from the core,37 or convergent growth from the terminal groups inwards towards the core.36,38 Regular and repeated branching at each monomer group gives rise to a symmetric structure and pattern to the entire globular dendrimers. Dendrimers are an attractive platform for macromolecular imaging and gene delivery because of their low cytotoxicity and their multiple types of reactive terminal groups.36,39-44

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