Polypeptide-based drug delivery systems for programmed release

Xu Wang, Ziyuan Song, Shiqi Wei, Guonan Ji, Xuetao Zheng, Zihuan Fu, Jianjun Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Recent years have seen increasing interests in the use of ring-opening polymerization of α-amino acid N-carboxyanhydrides (NCAs) to prepare synthetic polypeptides, a class of biocompatible and versatile materials, for various biomedical applications. Because of their rich side-chain functionalities, diverse hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity profiles, and the capability of forming stable secondary structures, polypeptides can assemble into a variety of well-organized nano-structures that have unique advantages in drug delivery and controlled release. Herein, we review the design and use of polypeptide-based drug delivery system derived from NCA chemistry, and discuss the future perspectives of this exciting and important biomaterial area that may potentially change the landscape of next-generation therapeutics and diagnosis. Given the high significance of precise control over release for polypeptide-based systems, we specifically focus on the versatile designs of drug delivery systems capable of programmed release, through the changes in the chemical and physical properties controlled by the built-in molecular structures of polypeptides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120913
Pages (from-to)120913
Number of pages1
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Drug delivery system
  • N-carboxyanhydride
  • Polypeptide
  • Programmed release
  • Ring-opening polymerization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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