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Lectins as Ligands for Directing Nanostructured Systems

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Lectins are proteins / glycoproteins of non-immunological origin found ubiquitously in all organisms. Research investigations show that many types of diseased tissues often display glycans that vary from their normal counterparts. Therefore, lectins that can interact with these transformed glycans may be used for early diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Specificity of lectins towards glycans has greatly attracted nanobiotechnology in engineering lectin functionalized nanoparticles. Conjugating lectin with a nanosystem can identify and specifically attach to the carbohydrate moieties of glycoproteins expressed on cell surfaces and this has led to the development of several lectin functionalized nanoparticles to target drugs to various tissues with minimized systemic side effects. Such efficient lectin functionalized nanoparticles developed so far, and their role in targeted drug delivery, targeted therapies and oral immunization are reviewed. Technical difficulties behind designing and targeting these lectin functionalized nanoparticles are also discussed.
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Keywords: Drug delivery; glycoprotein; immunization; nanocrystals; nanoparticles; photodynamic therapy

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: May 1, 2018

This article was made available online on January 25, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Lectins as Ligands for Directing Nanostructured Systems".

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  • The aim of Current Drug Delivery is to publish peer-reviewed articles, short communications, short and in-depth reviews in the rapidly developing field of drug delivery. Modern drug research aims to build in delivery properties of a drug at the design phase, however in many cases this ideal cannot be met and the development of delivery systems becomes as important as the development as the drugs themselves.

    The journal aims to cover the latest outstanding developments in drug and vaccine delivery employing physical, physico-chemical and chemical methods. The drugs include a wide range of bioactive compounds from simple pharmaceuticals to peptides, proteins, nucleotides, nucleosides and sugars. The journal will also report progress in the fields of transport routes and mechanisms including efflux proteins and multi-drug resistance.

    The journal is essential for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug design, development and delivery.
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