Design attributes of long-circulating polymeric drug delivery vehicles

Moritz Beck-Broichsitter, Julien Nicolas, Patrick Couvreur
European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics 2015, 97 (Pt B): 304-17
Following systemic administration polymeric drug delivery vehicles allow for a controlled and targeted release of the encapsulated medication at the desired site of action. For an elevated and organ specific accumulation of their cargo, nanocarriers need to avoid opsonization, activation of the complement system and uptake by macrophages of the mononuclear phagocyte system. In this respect, camouflaged vehicles revealed a delayed elimination from systemic circulation and an improved target organ deposition. For instance, a steric shielding of the carrier surface by poly(ethylene glycol) substantially decreased interactions with the biological environment. However, recent studies disclosed possible deficits of this approach, where most notably, poly(ethylene glycol)-modified drug delivery vehicles caused significant immune responses. At present, identification of novel potential carrier coating strategies facilitating negligible immune reactions is an emerging field of interest in drug delivery research. Moreover, physical carrier properties including geometry and elasticity seem to be very promising design attributes to surpass numerous biological barriers, in order to improve the efficacy of the delivered medication.

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