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J Control Release. 2012 Aug 10;161(3):781-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2012.05.040. Epub 2012 May 29.

Recent advances in nanocarrier-based mucosal delivery of biomolecules.

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Chemical Process Engineering Research Institute, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, P.O. Box 60361, 57001 Thessaloniki, Greece.


This review highlights the recent developments in the area of nanocarrier-based mucosal delivery of therapeutic biomolecules and antigens. Macromolecular drugs have the unique power to tackle challenging diseases but their structure, physicochemical properties, stability, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacokinetics place stringent demands on the way they are delivered into the body (e.g., inability to cross mucosal surfaces and biological membranes). Carrier-based drug delivery systems can diminish the toxicity of therapeutic biomolecules, improve their bioavailability and make possible their administration via less-invasive routes (e.g., oral, nasal, pulmonary, etc.). Thus, the development of functionalized nanocarriers and nanoparticle-based microcarriers for the delivery of macromolecular drugs is considered an important scientific challenge and at the same time a business breakthrough for the biopharmaceutical industry. In order to be translated to the clinic the nanocarriers need to be biocompatible, biodegradable, stable in biological media, non-toxic and non-immunogenic, to exhibit mucoadhesive properties, to cross mucosal barriers and to protect their sensitive payload and deliver it to its target site in a controlled manner, thus increasing significantly its bioavailability and efficacy.

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