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Nanomedicine (Lond). 2017 Jul;12(14):1727-1744. doi: 10.2217/nnm-2017-0127. Epub 2017 Jun 21.

Heparin: new life for an old drug.

Author information

1
BIOIBERICA, Polígon Industrial 'Mas Puigvert,' Ctra. N-II, km. 680.6, ES-08389 Palafolls, Spain.
2
Nanomalaria Group, Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Baldiri Reixac 10-12, ES-08028 Barcelona, Spain.
3
Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Barcelona Center for International Health Research (CRESIB, Hospital Clínic-Universitat de Barcelona), Rosselló 149-153, ES-08036 Barcelona, Spain.
4
Nanoscience & Nanotechnology Institute (IN2UB), University of Barcelona, Martí i Franquès 1, ES-08028 Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

Heparin is one of the oldest drugs, which nevertheless remains in widespread clinical use as an inhibitor of blood coagulation. The history of its identification a century ago unfolded amid one of the most fascinating scientific controversies turning around the distribution of credit for its discovery. The composition, purification and structure-function relationship of this naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan regarding its classical role as anticoagulant will be dealt with before proceeding to discuss its therapeutic potential in, among other, inflammatory and infectious disease, cancer treatment, cystic fibrosis and Alzheimer's disease. The first bibliographic reference hit using the words 'nanomedicine' and 'heparin' is as recent as 2008. Since then, nanomedical applications of heparin have experienced an exponential growth that will be discussed in detail, with particular emphasis on its antimalarial activity. Some of the most intriguing potential applications of heparin nanomedicines will be exposed, such as those contemplating the delivery of drugs to the mosquito stages of malaria parasites.

KEYWORDS:

Anopheles; Plasmodium; antimalarial drugs; heparin; malaria; mosquitoes; nanomedicine; nanotechnology; targeted drug delivery

PMID:
28635544
DOI:
10.2217/nnm-2017-0127
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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