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Macromol. Symp., Vol. 172, 2001, pp. 1-165

Polymers in Medicine


Symposium Editor, J. Kahovec
Wiley-VCH, 2001, pp. 1-165
ISBN 3-527-30334-0


The 40th microsymposium in the series of the Prague Meetings on Macromolecules, organized by the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry in Prague since 1967, was devoted to polymers in medicine. In addition, the meeting took place to celebrate the occasion of the 60th birthday of Professor Jindrich Kopecek, one of the leading scientists in drug delivery, former member of the research staff of the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry in Prague and the present Professor of Pharmaceutics at the University of Utah.

The goal of the meeting was to provide a forum for experts from academia and industry specializing in various aspects of biomedical application of polymer materials with special focus on tailor-made biorecognizable polymers, soluble and vesicular drug delivery systems, polymer systems for controlled drug release, smart hydrogels for medicinal application and genetically engineered biomedical polymers and biomaterials. The scientific program was opened by an inspirational lecture presented by Professor Helmut Ringsdorf. The program of the meeting consisted of eight general and twenty-one specialized lectures supplemented by nearly sixty poster presentations. A very stimulating concluding panel discussion, sensitively moderated by Professor Andrade, was directed for future advances in science with specific focus on polymers in medicine and drug delivery systems.

Balancing the busy four-day meeting with many presentations and lively discussions, it could be safely stated that polymer materials, polymer devices and constructs, and polymer conjugates are gaining ever-growing importance in all fields of medical and pharmaceutical research and development. After a period of the research dealing with the development of new materials, new polymer systems and the search for new applications of polymer materials, the attention of researchers switches now to the mechanisms of interaction of polymers with living cells and tissues and the mechanisms of action of polymer-based biologically active systems. This knowledge, together with achievements in genetics, results in the tailor-made design of highly sophisticated and complex polymer systems meeting even most exacting demands of the current medicine and pharmacology.

We did not manage to gather all the lectures presented at the Prague 40th microsymposium on polymers in medicine in this special volume. Nevertheless, the special volume contains most of the interesting and important papers based on the lectures presented, thus giving the picture of the topics and problems discussed. Various aspects of development, structure and properties of diverse polymeric drug delivery systems are discussed in papers of Bae, Einmahl, Heller, Kataoka, Kennedy and Lloyd. Specific aspects of polymer systems designed for cancer therapy are presented, e.g., in the papers of Neuse, Minko or Kabanov, immunological aspects of the use of water-soluble polymer-drug conjugates in cancer therapy are discussed by Ríhiová. The reader will also find papers dealing with other topics of application of polymers, such as cell encapsulation (Lukás), polymer vaccines (Kissel), gene therapy (Hoffman) and collagen-based fibres for blood vessel replacements (Feijen).

The organizers of the microsymposium wish to express their gratitude to the sponsoring companies and institutions: Sigma-Aldrich Ltd, Czech Republic, Schering, Czech Republic, MacroMed, Inc. USA, ENZON, Inc. USA, Ashni Naturaceuticals, Japan, and the German Academy of Sciences, Mainz, Germany.

Karel Ulbrich
Jaroslav Kahovec

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