, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 21-37

Colloidal drug carriers: achievements and perspectives

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Colloidal drug carriers such as liposomes and nanoparticles are able to modify the distribution of an associated substance. They can therefore be used to improve the therapeutic index of drugs by increasing their efficacy and/or reducing their toxicity. If these delivery systems are carefully designed with respect to the target and route of administration, they may provide one solution to some of the delivery problems posed by new classes of active molecules such as peptides, proteins, genes, and oligonucleotides. They may also extend the therapeutic potential of established drugs such as doxorubicin and amphotericin B. This article discusses the use of colloidal, particulate carrier systems (25 nm to 1 μm in diameter) in such applications. In particular, systems which show diminished uptake by mononuclear phagocytes are described. Specific targeting of carriers to particular tissues or cells is also considered.

Received 8 April 2002; received after revision 25 June 2002; accepted 26 June 2002