Macromol Biosci. 2021 Aug 5:e2100182. doi: 10.1002/mabi.202100182. Online ahead of print.
The escalating rise in the population of multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens coupled with their biofilm forming ability has struck the global health as nightmare. Alongwith the threat of aforementioned menace, the sluggish development of new antibiotics and the continuous deterioration of the antibiotic pipeline has stimulated the scientific community toward the search of smart and innovative alternatives. In near future, membrane targeting antimicrobial polymers, inspired from antimicrobial peptides, can stand out significantly to combat against the MDR superbugs. Many of these amphiphilic polymers can form nanoaggregates through self-assembly with superior and selective antimicrobial efficacy. Additionally, these macromolecular nanoaggregrates can be utilized to engineer smart antibiotic-delivery system for on-demand drug-release, exploiting the infection site's micoenvironment. This strategy substantially increases the local concentration of antibiotics and reduces the associated off-target toxicity. Furthermore, amphiphilc macromolecules can be utilized to rejuvinate obsolete antibiotics to tackle the drug-resistant infections. This review article highlights the recent developments in macromolecular architecture to design numerous nanostructures with broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, their application in fabricating smart drug delivery systems and their efficacy as antibiotic adjuvants to circumvent antimicrobial resistance. Finally, the current challenges and future prospects are briefly discussed for further exploration and their practical application in clinical settings.