Inhalation of aerosolized compounds is a popular, non-invasive route for the targeted delivery of therapeutic molecules to the lung. Various types of nanoparticles have been used as carriers to facilitate drug uptake and intracellular action in order to treat lung diseases and/or to facilitate lung repair and growth. These include polymeric nanoparticles, liposomes, and dendrimers, among many others. In addition, nanoparticles are sometimes used in combination with small molecules, cytokines, growth factors, and/or pluripotent stem cells. Here we review the rationale and state-of-the-art nanotechnology for pulmonary drug delivery, with particular attention to new technological developments and approaches as well as the challenges associated with them, the emerging advances, and opportunities for future development in this field.
Keywords: Nanoparticles, pulmonary delivery, inhalation, aerosolization, lung disease, lung repair, growth factors, stem cells.