Designing responsive microgels for drug delivery applications


Correspondence to: T. R. Hoare (E-mail:


Microgels based on thermally responsive polymers have been widely investigated in the context of controlled release applications, with increasing recent interest on developing a clearer understanding of what physical, chemical, and biological parameters must be considered to rationally design a microgel to deliver a specific drug at a specific rate in a specific physiological context. In this contribution, we outline these key design parameters associated with engineering responsive microgels for drug delivery and discuss several recent examples of how these principles have been applied to the synthesis of microgels or microgel-based composites. Overall, we suggest that in vivo assessment of these materials is essential to bridge the existing gap between the fascinating properties observed in the lab and the practical use of microgels in the clinic. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2013, 51, 3027–3043