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J Control Release. 2012 Jul 20;161(2):403-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2012.01.027. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

Safety assessment of nanomaterials: implications for nanomedicine.

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Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Nanotechnologies offer exciting opportunities for targeted drug delivery which is anticipated to increase the efficacy of the drug and reduce potential side-effects, through the reduction of the dose of the drug in bystander tissues and an increase of the drug at the desired target site. Nevertheless, understanding whether the nano-scale carriers themselves may exert adverse effects is of great importance. The small size may enable nanoparticles to negotiate various biological barriers in the body which could, in turn, give rise to unexpected toxicities. On the other hand, the potential of nanoparticles to cross barriers can also be exploited for drug delivery. Determining the fate of nanoparticles following their therapeutic or diagnostic application is critical: are nanoparticles excreted, or biodegraded, or do they accumulate, potentially leading to harmful long-term effects? The bio-corona of proteins or lipids on the surface of nanoparticles is a key parameter for the understanding of biological interactions of nanoparticles. In the present review, we discuss some of the major challenges related to safety of nanomedicines.

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