Peptides and Peptidomimetics in Medicine, Surgery and Biotechnology
Despite the fact that they have been used for a century to treat several kinds of diseases, peptides and short proteins are now considered the new generation of biologically active tools. Indeed, recent findings suggest a wide range of novel applications in medicine, biotechnology, and surgery. The efficacy of native peptides has been greatly enhanced by introducing structural modifications in the original sequences, giving rise to the class of peptidomimetics. This review gives an overview of both classical applications and promising new categories of biologically active peptides and analogs. Besides the new entries in well known peptide families, such as antibiotic macrocyclic peptides, integrin inhibitors, as well as immunoactive, anticancer, neuromodulator, opioid, and hormone peptides, a number of novel applications have been recently reported. Outstanding examples include peptide-derived semi-synthetic vaccines, drug delivery systems, radiolabeled peptides, self-assembling peptides, which can serve as biomaterials in tissue engineering for creating cartilage, blood vessels, and other tissues, or as substrates for neurite outgrowth and synapse formation, immobilized peptides, and proteins. Finally, peptide-based biomaterials can find applications in bio-nanotechnology for bio-microchips, peptide nanorods and nanotubes, bio-sensors, bio-electronic devices, and peptide-metal wires.
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