Development of controlled drug delivery systems for bone fracture-targeted therapeutic delivery: A review

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Impaired fracture healing is a major clinical problem that can lead to patient disability, prolonged hospitalization, and significant financial burden. Although the majority of fractures heal using standard clinical practices, approximately 10% suffer from delayed unions or non-unions. A wide range of factors contribute to the risk for nonunions including internal factors, such as patient age, gender, and comorbidities, and external factors, such as the location and extent of injury. Current clinical approaches to treat nonunions include bone grafts and low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS), which realizes clinical success only to select patients due to limitations including donor morbidities (grafts) and necessity of fracture reduction (LIPUS), respectively. To date, therapeutic approaches for bone regeneration rely heavily on protein-based growth factors such as INFUSE, an FDA-approved scaffold for delivery of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2). Small molecule modulators and RNAi therapeutics are under development to circumvent challenges associated with traditional growth factors. While preclinical studies has shown promise, drug delivery has become a major hurdle stalling clinical translation. Therefore, this review overviews current therapies employed to stimulate fracture healing pre-clinically and clinically, including a focus on drug delivery systems for growth factors, parathyroid hormone (PTH), small molecules, and RNAi therapeutics, as well as recent advances and future promise of fracture-targeted drug delivery.

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