The synthesis and application of stimuli-responsive polymer materials have been extensively studied. Among stimuli-responsive polymers, thermoresponsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) is the most widely investigated. PNIPAAm-based polymers undergo a reversible hydrophilic/hydrophobic phase transition in response to temperature. In addition, by introducing sites that are responsive to physical and chemical stimuli into PNIPAAm-based polymers, they also undergo phase transitions in response to stimuli, such as light, pH, oxidation/reduction, and enzyme activity. In this focus review, recent advancements in the applications of stimuli-responsive polymers based on PNIPAAm in biomedical fields are summarized, with an emphasis on our own research. In particular, a summary of the design of polymers for application in the separation and purification of (bio)pharmaceutical products and controlled cellular uptake is provided. First, temperature-responsive chromatography with PNIPAAm-modified silica beads is introduced. Thereafter, temperature- and pH-responsive polymers based on PNIPAAm used in imaging and drug delivery applications are discussed. Finally, the conclusions are presented, and future perspectives for the biomedical applications of stimuli-responsive polymers are discussed.
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