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Chemistry Routes For Copolymer Synthesis Containing PEG For Targeting, Imaging, And Drug Delivery Purposes

Kamil Rahme, Nazih Dagher

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Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is one of the most frequently used polymers for coating nanocarriers to enhance their biocompatibility, hydrophilicity, stability, and biodegradability. PEG is now considered to be among the best biocompatible polymers. It offers sterical hindrance against other nanoparticles and blood components such as opsonin, preventing their macrophage phagocytosis and resulting in a prolonged circulation time in blood stream, consequently a ‘stealth character’ in vivo. Therefore, PEG has a very promising future for the development of current therapeutics and biomedical applications. Moreover, the vast number of molecules that PEG can conjugate with might enhance its ability to have an optimistic perspective for the future. This review will present an update on the chemistry used in the modern conjugation methods for a variety of PEG conjugates, such methods include, but are not limited to, the synthesis of targeting PEG conjugates (i.e., Peptides, Folate, Biotin, Mannose etc.), imaging PEG conjugates (i.e., Coumarin, Near Infrared dyes etc.) and delivery PEG conjugates (i.e., doxorubicin, paclitaxel, and other hydrophobic low molecular weight drugs). Furthermore, the type of nanoparticles carrying those conjugates, along with their biomedical uses, will be briefly discussed.