Pharmaceutical Nanocarriers

Dev Prasad, Harsh Chauhan*

Currently, the use of nanocarriers is one of the most promising approach in drug delivery. Nanocarriers offer several significant advantages for various drug delivery techniques. It is utmost important to select the right nanocarrier to achieve desired properties. In this review various nanocarriers have been discussed along with their important characteristics which can help in the rationally selecting the right type of nanocarriers.
Nanocarrier may be defined as sub micron moiety used to deliver a drug at the site of action. Various pharmaceutical carriers that can be used in drug delivery are Polymeric nanoparticles, Solid lipid nanoparticles, Liposomes, Polymeric micelles, Quantum dots, Dendrimers, Gold nanoparticle, Nanotubes, Carbon nanotube, Fullerenes and Inorganic nanoparticles. The review lists a brief overview of these nanocarriers along with rationale of selecting the right nanocarrier.
Rationale for using nanocarries in drug therapy
Nanocarriers can be used to obtain desirable drug like properties by altering the biopharmaceutics and pharmacokinetics properties of the molecule such as half life and distribution of drug. Various nanocarriers are formulated to encapsulate the drug in carriers, which mask the unfavorable biopharmaceutical properties of the molecule and replace them with the properties of the materials used for make the nano-delivery system, thus achieving the desirable drug delivery.
Nanocarrier based drug delivery systems can also be used for site specific delivery, thus improving unwanted toxicity due to nonspecific distribution. Further, efficiency of a nanocarriers drug delivery can be increased by targeting them to organs or tissues of interest. In some cases, targeting is achieved spontaneously via the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect especially in solid tumors and infarcts. Certain pathological conditions such as local temperature increase and/or acidosis can also be used to target nanocarriers. Additionally they can be targeted by attaching to their surface a targeting vector molecule such as antibody, peptide, lectin, or saccharide. Surface modification of pharmaceutical nanocarriers, such as liposome, micelles, nanocapsules, polymeric nanoparticles, solid lipid particles, and others can easily be done to control their biological properties in a desirable fashion and make them to perform various therapeutically or diagnostically important functions. The most important results of such modification are increased stability and half-life of nanocarriers in the circulation, required biodistribution, passive or active targeting and responsiveness to local physiological stimuli such as pathology associated changes in local pH and/or temperature.


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