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Advances in material science and nanotechnology have revolutionized several fields, but the single and most significant impact has been in the field of medicine and diagnostics. With a deeper understanding of complex medical conditions, such as cancer, there is a paradigm shift in treatment approaches and the current development in the field focuses on patient-centric “personalized therapy” instead of the prior concept of a “magic bullet”. Cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment exhibits diverse cellular, molecular and physiological features that vary not only with the type of cancer, but also from patient to patient within the same type of cancer. As the diseases continue to evolve and adapt to the existing therapeutic options, so have the efforts to devise novel therapeutic strategies through scientific innovations to circumvent these challenges. Even though the molecular fingerprint of diseases such as cancer remains unique from patient to patient, the physiological microenvironment of the disease in general exhibit similarities in properties. Therefore, the past decade has seen efforts to exploit the subtle differences in the physiological profile of the diseases and develop materials that are sensitive to these triggers. This book specifically focuses on the development of such smart drug delivery options, based on the sound knowledge of disease profile and precision in engineering of materials to achieve the desired physico-chemical properties.

In the book Stimuli-Responsive Drug Delivery Systems, the first chapter lays down the ground rules for the need for smart stimuli-responsive materials for drug and gene delivery and introduces the fundamental concepts involved in the design of such materials. The chapter is aims to educate the reader about the basic physiological differences at a disease site, as well as the essential concepts involved in designing vectors for delivery of chemical drugs, as well as complex biological therapeutic molecules such as DNA, RNA and protein. This chapter is followed by a detailed account of the chemical manipulations that are popularly used for designing smart materials. The second chapter discusses the choice of materials available for drug delivery and the chemical modifications that impart the triggered release property to the materials.

Building on the backbone of the first two chapters, chapters 3 to 12 discuss different classes of stimuli-responsive materials that have been developed for drug delivery applications. These chapters provide an in-depth assessment of the state-of-the-art materials that have been studied for triggered release of material in different categories with adequate detailed examples from preclinical or clinical settings. The focus of these chapters has been to provide a comprehensive knowledge about the respective fields through the developments made in the past decade. Readers will therefore find an updated information pool on the subject matter consolidated by the experts in the field, which is otherwise scattered into numerous individual scientific reports. Chapter 13 of the book is dedicated specifically for the discussion of devices that show stimuli-responsiveness and have potential application in drug delivery.

The final chapter of the book introduces the regulatory perspective on the challenges in development of these materials. Any material designed for therapeutic use in humans has to undergo very stringent selection criteria for safety and efficacy and regulatory agencies across the globe have guidelines that have to be met before an experiment material becomes a “drug”. This chapter outlines some major impediments that are encountered along the way of drug development involving smart materials. This chapter is unique to this book and is an aspect of drug development that is seldom discussed in other books on similar themes. This chapter is an attempt to make the readers aware of the problems and pitfalls that often leads to an unsuccessful story of an otherwise promising “drug candidate”.

We hope that the book Stimuli-Responsive Drug Delivery Systems will provide the reader with a flavor of the subject matter and incite a deeper interest in the multidisciplinary and highly active research field of nanomedicine, nanotechnology and advanced drug delivery systems. This book is a product of the shared enthusiasm of the publishers, editors and the authors that there is a need for a consolidated material on the topic of stimuli-responsive materials and we hope that the book will serve as a valuable resource to the interested scientific community.

Amit Singh

West Haven, Connecticut, USA

Mansoor M. Amiji

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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