Materials for Drug Delivery: Innovative Solutions to Address Complex Biological Hurdles
Mitragotri, S. / Lahann, J. (2012)
Advanced Materials 28 (2012), 24, 3717–3723
- Date: 2012
Mitragotri, S. / Lahann, J. (2012): „Materials for Drug Delivery: Innovative Solutions to Address Complex Biological Hurdles“. In: Advanced Materials 28 (2012), 24, 3717–3723
The field of drug delivery focuses on the development of technologies to deliver biomolecules to the site of the disease so as to maximize therapeutic benefits, minimize side effects and enhance patient compliance. The key hurdle in this journey is the complexity of the path through which the drug has to navigate before arriving at the target site.
Another hurdle is the limited availability of tools to control this navigation. Free drugs, when administered into bloodstream, are subjected to various metabolic processes, primarily renal clearance and distribution in non-target tissues. These processes not only reduce the drug concentration at the active target site but also increase the likelihood of unwanted side effects.
The best examples of drugs suffering from these limitations are chemotherapeutic agents. While many chemotherapeutics are highly effective in a petri dish in vitro, clinical utility of these agents is often limited by severe restrictions on doses that are posed by their toxic side effects. These limitations can be potentially overcome by designing carriers that perform multiple tasks including encapsulation and controlled release, minimization of immune-clearance, penetration of biological barriers and targeting the disease site.
1–3 This issue of Advanced Materials is dedicated to an overview of these challenges and innovative materials that are being developed to address them.