Acetalated dextran (Ac-DEX) is a pH-responsive dextran derivative polymer. Prepared by a simple acetalation reaction, Ac-DEX has tunable acid-triggered release profile. Despite its relatively short research history, Ac-DEX has shown great potential in various therapeutic applications. Furthermore, the recent functionalization of Ac-DEX makes versatile derivatives with additional properties. Herein, we summarize the cutting-edge development of Ac-DEX and related polymers. Specifically, we focus on the chemical synthesis, nano- and micro-particle fabrication techniques, the controlled-release mechanisms, and the rational design Ac-DEX-based of drug delivery systems in various biomedical applications. Finally, we briefly discuss the challenges and future perspectives in the field.