Single-chain polymer nanoparticles in controlled drug delivery and targeted imaging

J Control Release. 2018 Sep 28;286:326-347. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2018.07.041. Epub 2018 Aug 9.


As a relatively new class of materials, single-chain polymer nanoparticles (SCNPs) just entered the field of (biomedical) applications, with recent advances in polymer science enabling the formation of bio-inspired nanosized architectures. Exclusive intramolecular collapse of individual polymer chains results in individual nanoparticles. With sizes an order of magnitude smaller than conventional polymer nanoparticles, SCNPs are in the size regime of many proteins and viruses (1-20 nm). Multifaceted syntheses and design strategies give access to a wide set of highly modular SCNP materials. This review describes how SCNPs have been rendered water-soluble and highlights ongoing research efforts towards biocompatible SCNPs with tunable properties for controlled drug delivery, targeted imaging and protein mimicry.

Keywords: Biomedical applications; Controlled drug delivery; Intramolecular cross-linking; Single chain polymer nanoparticles; Targeted imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Cross-Linking Reagents / chemistry
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / chemistry*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Particle Size
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Solubility
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods
  • Water / chemistry


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Polymers
  • Proteins
  • Water