New nanomaterials have been extensively explored in recent years for drug delivery applications to address problems associated with the conventional drug therapies such as limited drug solubility, poor biodistribution, lack of selectivity and unfavourable pharmacokinetics. Among them, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted great attention due to their unique physicochemical architecture and properties. This comprehensive review summarizes the recent advances regarding the use of CNTs for drug delivery. This review includes general information about CNT structures and properties, methods for their dispersion in aqueous solution and basic concepts for CNTs functionalization relevant for their applications in biological systems and delivery of therapeutics. Some toxicological and biocompatibility issues related to the use of CNTs as pharmaceutical excipients are discussed. Last, recent progress on development of CNT drug delivery systems with a specific emphasis on gene delivery was reviewed.
Keywords: Carbon nanotubes, functionalization of carbon nanotubes, drug delivery, gene delivery, single walled carbon nanotubes, multi-walled carbon nanotubes, solubility of carbon nanotubes, carbon nanotubes composites, click chemistry, toxicity of carbon nanotubes, Genotoxicity and Mutagenicity of carbon nanotubes, cancer drugs delivery, RNA delivery, DNA delivery
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