Polymer genomics

Alexander V. Kabanov, Elena V. Batrakova, Simon Sherman, Valery Y. Alakhov

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Biological activities of biocompatible synthetic polymers used in drug delivery, gene delivery, vaccine development or biomaterial surface modification are discussed. Synthetic polymers display selective phenotypic effects in cells and in the body, affecting signal transduction mechanisms involving inflammation, differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis. These effects are realized as a result of interactions of water-soluble polymers with plasma cell membranes, delivery of polymers to intracellular organelles, and at the sites of cell contacts with polymer-coated surfaces. The ability of the cells and organisms to respond to the effects of these polymers can be dependent on phenotype or genotype. In selected cases, polymer agents can bypass limitations on biological response imposed by the genotype; for example, achievement of phenotypic correction of immune response by polyelectrolytes. Overall, these effects are relatively weak as they do not result in cytotoxicity or major toxicities in the body. However, when combined with specific biological agents, such as cytotoxic agents, bacterial DNA or antigens, either by mixing or by covalent conjugation, the polymers can drastically alter specific genetically controlled responses to these agents. Collectively these studies propose the need for thorough assessment of pharmacogenomic effects of polymer materials in order to maximize the clinical outcomes and understand the pharmacological and toxicological effects of polymer formulations of biological agents - polymer genomics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-198
Number of pages26
JournalAdvances in Polymer Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


  • Artificial vaccines
  • DNA microarray
  • Drug resistance
  • Phenotype
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics


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