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The Fate of Nanocarriers As Nanomedicines In Vivo: Important Considerations and Biological Barriers to Overcome

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Many pharmaceuticals on the market suffer from two significant limitations to their activity: lack of specificity toward the pathological site and poor aqueous solubility. Both factors therefore require the application of a large total dose of a drug to achieve high local concentration, causing numerous off-target toxic effects. Consequently, the grand aim of targeted drug delivery - the often-referred “magic bullet” - promises to improve drug concentration at the target site and maximize therapeutic response. Nanomaterial drug delivery systems have been explored extensively in the recent years for just this purpose. In the field of medicine, nanocarriers (NCs) have the potential to improve the biodistribution and pharmacokinetic characteristics of drugs, thereby reducing side effects while improving the therapeutic effect of drugs. Many nanomaterials are exquisitely designed and possess potent properties, yet it is extremely important to note that a general understanding of the interaction of nanomaterials with biological systems is essential for any such model properties to be effective in vivo, since the body presents a host of biological ‘barriers’ that will be encountered drug NCs. This review offers a general overview of the different biological obstacles that a NC must negotiate before it can carry out its desired role as a medicinal agent. From this standpoint we suggest aspects that should be considered for the rational design of novel nanomaterials possessing physicochemical properties that are appropriate for therapeutic or theragnostic applications.
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Keywords: Nanomedicine; biological barrier; drug specificity; nanocarrier; passive targeting; vascular endothelium

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-07-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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