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Report from IUPAC-Sponsored Symposium

40th Microsymposium on Polymers in Medicine and 59th Prague Meeting on Macromolecules, 17-20 July 2000, Prague, Czech Republic

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Polymers in Medicine website

This 40th Microsymposium was the 59th meeting in the series of Prague Meetings on Macromolecules, organized by the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic since 1967. With very few exceptions, these meetings have been held under the auspices of IUPAC. The mission of the Prague meetings is to bring together professionals working in a particular topical area of polymer science from all over the world.

The subject of this year’s meeting was especially pertinent to the organizing Institute, because its founder, Prof. Otto Wichterle, the inventor of soft contact lenses, was a pioneer in the field of medical applications of polymers. The present microsymposium was held in honor of the 60th birthday of Prof. Jindrich Kopecek, a leader in the area of the application of polymers in controlled drug release, once a graduate student and research fellow at the Institute, and now professor at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Prof. Karel Ulbrich, present Director of the Institute and head of the Czech part of the Prague-Salt Lake City cooperation in polymers for controlled release, chaired the meeting.

The microsymposium was attended by 116 active participants and 22 accompanying persons from 20 countries. Eight main lectures (40 minutes), 21 special lectures (30 minutes), and 58 poster communications were presented. The speakers were recognized experts in the field.

The scope of the meeting comprised tailor-made synthetics of biorecognizable polymers, structural factors influencing the interaction of macromolecules with receptors/antigens, soluble and vesicular drug delivery systems, smart hydrogels in medicine, and genetically engineered biomedical polymers and biomaterials.

A list of the main lectures gives a fair overview of the hot topics of the conference:

  • K. Ulbrich et al. (Czech Republic), Antibody-targeted polymer carriers of drugs
  • S. W. Kim (USA), Novel functional polymers for gene delivery
  • K. Kataoka (Japan), Tailor-made block copolymer micelles and nanoparticles for drug delivery
  • J. Feijen et al. (The Netherlands), Collagen-based biomaterials
  • T. Okano et al. (Japan), Temperature-responsive intelligent polymers for targeted drug delivery
  • D. A. Tirrell (USA), Engineering molecular and cellular recognition in artificial proteins
  • R. Duncan et al. (UK), Synthetic vectors for intracytoplasmic delivery
  • J. A. Hubbell (Switzerland), Degradable and resorbable hydrogels for local delivery and modulation of biological responses

On the last day of the microsymposium, a most stimulating panel discussion on "The future of biomedical polymers" was held, in which J. D. Andrade (USA) served as a skillful moderator. A few problems of a general nature emerged during the discussion, such as interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary education, teamwork, and cooperation between teams.

The social program for active participants included a welcoming reception on the eve of the meeting; a piano recital in the historic Benedictine Archabbey; an afternoon and evening excursion with dinner to a château in the western part of the country and to the brewery museum in the city of Plzen (Pilsen), famous for its superb brands of beer; and a farewell toast. The accompanying persons’ program offered sightseeing in the historic parts of Prague and an excursion to the Prague suburbs.

Prof. Pavel Kratochvil
Associate Member, IUPAC Macromolecular
Division (IV) Committee
Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic

> Published in Chem. Int. 23(2), 2001

Page last modified 17 February 2001.
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