Affiliation: Universite d'Avignon, Laboratoire de Chimie Bioorganique et des Systemes Moleculaires Vectoriels, 33 rue Louis Pasteur, 84000 - Avignon, France.
The last three decades have seen the development of new concepts in the biomedical and medical field based on the principle of drug carrying and in vivo pharmaco-targeting using synthetic carriers such as nanoparticles, liposomes or polymers. This review deals with the synthesis and biomedical applications of a new kind of macromolecular compounds: end-capped oligomers called telomers. The telomers, derived from Tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane bearing either a hydro- or a fluorocarbon tail, are described. Their functionality and biocompatibility enhance their potential in the biomedical and medical fields. Such compounds exhibit no cytotoxicity and are able to cross cell membranes by endocytosis. After i.v or per os administration in the animal, they exhibit a very good bio-avaibility and a homogeneous distribution in all tissues without any accumulation. Their ability to carry in vivo antimitotic drugs has been shown. Moreover, the grafting of different glycoside moieties onto the hydroxyl groups of telomers allows the selective targeting of specific receptors called integrins. Finally, we have shown the potential use of telomers bearing specific peptide ligands, such as RGD sequences, in the selective carrying of antimitotic drugs to the angiogenic zone surrounding tumors.