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Biomed Mater. 2013 Apr;8(2):022001. doi: 10.1088/1748-6041/8/2/022001. Epub 2013 Feb 5.

Biomaterial-based drug delivery systems for the controlled release of neurotrophic factors.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Victoria, PO Box 1700, STN CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada.


This review highlights recent work on the use of biomaterial-based drug delivery systems to control the release of neurotrophic factors as a potential strategy for the treatment of neurological disorders. Examples of neurotrophic factors include the nerve growth factor, the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, the brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin-3. In particular, this review focuses on two methods of drug delivery: affinity-based and reservoir-based systems. We review the advantages and challenges associated with both types of drug delivery system and how these systems can be applied to neurological diseases and disorders. While a limited number of affinity-based delivery systems have been developed for the delivery of neurotrophic factors, we also examine the broad spectrum of reservoir-based delivery systems, including microspheres, electrospun nanofibers, hydrogels and combinations of these systems. Finally, conclusions are drawn about the current state of such drug delivery systems as applied to neural tissue engineering along with some thoughts on the future direction of the field.

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