Reviewed by Geraldine Rohman
S Kumbar, CT Laurencin and M Deng eds.
The book Natural and Synthetic Biomedical Polymers contains 23 chapters from various authors in the field of pharmaceutical, bioengineering, and biomedical sciences. The book chapters complement each other to comprehensive detail: the polymers used in biomedical applications, their syntheses and properties, the methods of processing, as well as their uses and clinical potentials as biomedical devices. Nonetheless, some chapters could have been arranged differently in order to group similar topics and ease the reading. It should also be noticed that the book focuses mainly on biodegradable polymers and only one chapter (chapter 18) is dedicated to non-degradable polymers.
Chapter 1 gives the fundamentals on the different methods of polymerization and outlines the elaboration processes of polymeric devices. It also gives a quick overview of the main biodegradable polymers used in biomedical applications. The fundamentals on the characterization techniques of materials bulk and surface properties are given in Chapter 2, as well as in chapter 20.
Chapter 3 and chapter 4 are dedicated to natural polymers (proteins and poly(amino acids), polysaccharides and derivatives), and all chapter 5 is devoted to chitosan and its active derivatives for coupling with biomolecules. In chapters 6 to 8 and 10 to 13, each family of synthetic degradable polymers (polyesters, poly(ester amides), polyurethanes, polyanhydrides, polyphosphazenes, polyacetals, poly(pseudo amino acids)) is presented. All these chapters give a clear insight on the polymer structures, characteristics, sources or syntheses, as well as their uses or their expectations in biomedical applications. More recent materials, such as dendrimers, citrate-based elastomers and shape-memory polymers, are approached in chapter 16, 15, and 19 respectively.
Examples of functionalization of polymers or their surfaces are provided in chapter 9 – functionalization of biodegradable polyesters, chapter 19 – developments of antifouling surfaces, polymeric surfaces with biochemical and topographical cues. The chapter 17 on the functionalization by nucleic acid aptamers is very interesting and puts forward a new promising strategy which could allow the development of polymeric biomaterials with advanced properties.
Biocompatibility and durability considerations are approached in chapter 19 and the regulatory guidelines for the biological tests are further explained in chapter 20. This chapter also gives the regulatory guidelines for the in vitro tests dedicated to drug-delivering polymeric devices. Nevertheless, it would have been interesting to give more detail to this entire part.
The main applications of polymeric materials in the biomedical field are given in chapters 19 – implantable prostheses, 14 and 21 – tissue engineering, and 23 – nanotechnologies. A challenging topic on the use of polymers for the medical diagnostics in the central nervous system is detailed in chapter 22.
Overall, the book is of very great interest to a wide audience interacting with polymers, including chemists, biologists, and material scientists.
Laboratory of Chemistry, Structure, Properties of Biomaterials and Therapeutic Agents – Université Paris 13