Poly(ethylene oxide) based copolymers: Solubilisation capacity and gelation

David Attwood, Zhengyuan Zhou, Colin Booth

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    It is thought that almost half of potentially useful drug candidates fail to progress to formulation development because of their low aqueous solubility and associated poor or erratic absorption characteristics. A response to this challenge has been the development of a variety of colloidal delivery systems in which the therapeutic agent is encapsulated in nanosized particles. In this review, attention is focussed on colloidal vectors based on amphiphilic block copolymers, the micelles of which can accommodate a wide range of water-insoluble guest molecules, and particularly on copolymers with poly(oxyethylene) as the hydrophilic block and with poly(oxyalkylene) or polyester hydrophobic blocks, taking advantage of the 'stealth' properties of the poly(oxyethylene) corona of their micelles. Although copolymers of this type have been commercially available for several decades in the form of the Pluronic® (BASF) polyols, which have a poly(oxypropylene) hydrophobic block, they have not found wide application for drug solubilisation, primarily because of their low solubilisation capacity. In attempts to achieve greater drug loading, recent work has concentrated on copolymers in which the core-forming blocks are designed to be more hydrophobic and more compatible with the drug to be encapsulated. Progress in this area has been reviewed and recent developments in the design of block copolymers of this type that combine high drug loading capacity with thermally reversible gelation characteristics in the temperature range suitable for potential application as in situ gelling vehicles following subcutaneous injection have also been discussed. © 2007 Informa UK Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)533-546
    Number of pages13
    JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Delivery
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007


    • Block copolymer
    • Polymeric micelles
    • Solubilisation capacity
    • Thermoreversible gelation


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