Stimuli sensitive polymers and self regulated drug delivery systems: A very partial review

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100 Scopus citations


Since the early days of the Journal of Controlled Release, there has been considerable interest in materials that can release drug on an "on-demand" basis. So called "stimuli-responsive" and "intelligent" systems have been designed to deliver drug at various times or at various sites in the body, according to a stimulus that is either endogenous or externally applied. In the past three decades, research along these lines has taken numerous directions, and each new generation of investigators has discovered new physicochemical principles and chemical schemes by which the release properties of materials can be altered. No single review could possibly do justice to all of these approaches. In this article, some general observations are made, and a partial history of the field is presented. Both open loop and closed loop systems are discussed. Special emphasis is placed on stimuli-responsive hydrogels, and on systems that can respond repeatedly. It is argued that the most success at present and in the foreseeable future is with systems in which biosensing and actuation (i.e. drug delivery) are separated, with a human and/or cybernetic operator linking the two.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-351
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Sep 28 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author's contributions cited in this review were funded by the National Institutes of Health ( DK38035 , HD040366 , EB003125 , DK075739 ) the National Science Foundation ( CHE-9615511 ), the U.S. Army ( DAMD17-02-1-0722 ), and the Whitaker Foundation . Special thanks to all coauthors who have contributed to the author's cited articles.


  • Glucose sensitive
  • Hydrogels
  • Self regulated
  • Stimuli sensitive
  • pH sensitive


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