The image above shows a highly water-soluble polymer pro-drug—a pharmacologically inactive substance that is the modified form of an active drug—of a potent chemotherapeutic agent. Polymer scientist Todd Emrick and his colleagues are using the compound as a means to improve the efficacy of cancer therapies. By attaching polymers to potential therapeutic drugs, the researchers are demonstrating that water-insoluble compounds can be transformed into water-soluble drugs that can then be absorbed by tumor tissue. The polymeric additives also make drug molecules larger, allowing the drugs to remain in the body longer and thereby increasing their likelihood of reaching the targeted cancerous tissue. Learn more.
Photo credit: Amanda Drane