Nanotechnology for protein delivery: Overview and perspectives

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Abstract

Protein-based therapeutics have made a significant impact in the treatment of a variety of important human diseases. However, given their intrinsically vulnerable structure and susceptibility to enzymatic degradation, many therapeutic proteins such as enzymes, growth factors, hormones, and cytokines suffer from poor physicochemical/biological stability and immunogenicity that may limit their potential benefits, and in some cases limit their utility. Furthermore, when protein therapeutics are developed for intracellular targets, their internalization and biological activity may be limited by inefficient membrane permeability and/or endosomal escape. Development of effective protein delivery strategies is therefore essential to further enhance therapeutic outcomes to enable widespread medical applications. This review discusses the advantages and limitations of marketed and developmental-stage protein delivery strategies, and provides a focused overview of recent advances in nanotechnology platforms for the systemic delivery of therapeutic proteins. In addition, we also highlight nanoparticle-mediated non-invasive administration approaches (e.g., oral, nasal, pulmonary, and transdermal routes) for protein delivery.

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