Nanotechnology is an area of science devoted to the design, construction and utilization of functional structures on the nanometer scale (often 100nm or smaller). Therapeutic applications of nanotechnologies include the treatment of cancer liver diseases. Avoiding the recognition by the liver is also possible by developing long circulating polymeric colloidal carriers (“stealth” systems) able to avoid the opsonisation process and the recognition by the macrophages. The design of such carriers is based on the physico-chemical concept of the “steric repulsion” by grafting polyethylene glycol chains at the surface of nanoparticles, the adsorption of steric proteins may be dramatically reduced due to steric hindrance. Such an approach allows maintaining the drug carrier for a longer time into the circulation and the resulting extravasation towards non reticuloendothelial-located cancers may become possible. Now, new applications and exciting perspectives are proposed for the delivery of drugs to previously non-accessible diseased sanctuaries, like the brain (treatment of glioma and autoimmune diseases of the brain) or the ocular tissues (treatment of the autoimmune uveitis). Ocular autoimmunity is especially intriguing because of the unique immunological characteristics of the eye. On the basis of laboratory data, the feeding of ocular antigens, has been proposed as a safe and efficacious therapy for uveitis. This review highlights how these obstacles can be overcome by polymer science and nanotechnology. New developments in polymer science coupled with cell-based delivery strategies support the notion that diseases that now have limited therapeutic options can show improved outcomes by advances in nanomedicine.
Keywords: Nanomedicine, cancer therapy, dendrimers, neurodegenerative disorders, osteoporosis
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