Immunological Risk of Injectable Drug Delivery Systems

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Injectable drug delivery systems (DDS) such as particulate carriers and water-soluble polymers are being used and developed for a wide variety of therapeutic applications. However, a number of immunological risks with serious clinical implications are associated with administration of DDS. These immunological events can compromise the efficacy and safety of these systems by changing the pharmacokinetics, biodistribution and targeting capability of DDS, and by inducing hypersensitivity reactions. Antibodies induced by administration of DDS can be directed against the carrier material, the drug and/or targeting ligands associated with the DDS. Complement activation and opsonization of DDS, which may or may not be associated with antibody formation, may lead to accelerated clearance, hypersensitivity reactions and formation of membrane attack complexes resulting in premature release of the drug. Also platelets have been reported to play a role in DDS immunogenicity. Despite our curtailed understanding of the relationships between physicochemical characteristics and immunogenicity of DDS, several risk factors have been identified. Insight into these factors should be employed in the development of novel DDS with low immunological risk.

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