About this Research Topic
Pharmacotherapy is the first-choice strategy for the treatment of several diseases including cancer, chronic inflammatory, infectious, cardiovascular diseases, and others. Despite the successful development of many new small molecule and macromolecular drugs, various physico-chemical, pharmacokinetic and toxicological aspects still limit their bioavailability and therapeutic efficacy.
Since successful therapeutic intervention requires a clinically relevant drug concentration at the site of action, technological innovations have been devoted to the development of specific drug delivery systems capable of responding to certain biological, physical and chemical stimuli, such as temperature, pH gradients, redox conditions, light, electric and magnetic fields. These systems, recognized as Smart Delivery Systems, are composed of stimuli-sensitive materials used as excipients in different pharmaceutical formulations. They are designed to reach the target site by a variety of administration routes and modulate the drug release profile, being effective for diagnosis, treatment or to avoid the progression of the pathological condition.
The development of drug nanocarriers is a result of an extensive effort, from the initial idea to the optimization of the manufacturing process, biocompatibility and especially their pharmacological evaluation. In this sense, the design of smart delivery systems is still a challenge and finds applications as part of a crescent need for knowledge renewal in the Nanomedicine field. Nanotechnology has significantly contributed in this field with the design, structural characterization, and biomedical evaluation of nanoscale materials to incorporate them as strategies for advanced diagnosis and therapy.
Smart Delivery Systems include non-inert materials, since their functions are not limited to overcome the biological barriers, but also to improve the biological properties of the constructs such as biorecognition, biocompatibility, site-specific targeting or even theranostics. Current designs of Smart Delivery Systems comprise lipids, polymers, metals, composites and biomacromolecules allowing the development of new and personalized medicine tools that can modulate the drug release profile in the biological tissues via their structural organization and environmental responsiveness.
In this context, comprehensive studies of structure-driven nanocarriers open possibilities to design and evaluate the performance of stimuli-responsive systems for drug-delivery, diagnosis and theranostics. Multifunctional materials exhibiting collective responses to more than one stimulus and performing two or more functions in a cooperative manner are highly desirable in the field.
Structurally complex, advanced materials can assume different levels of organization due to their ability to self-assemble, undergo phase transitions or conformation changes and interact chemically with other compounds such as crosslinkers, salts, biomolecules and small molecule drugs. These processes can improve the therapeutic efficiency of the material as a function of its composition, concentration, and association with other components. All these factors regulate the physico-chemical features of the materials such as their morphology, size, internal structure, and surface properties, which in turn determine their performance as drug-delivery systems
The present special issue aims to provide the current state of the art and the future perspectives in the field of Nanomedicine, focusing on Smart Delivery Systems applied in the treatment, diagnosis or their combination (theranostics) of several pathological conditions. We believe that this special issue will contribute to the modern trends of advanced drug delivery systems which are responsive to physical, chemical and biological stimuli, such as light, temperature, enzymatic reactions, pH, redox conditions and electrical or magnetic fields, as well as their molecular mechanism of action. The topic includes, but is not limited to the development of multifunctional systems responding to more than one stimulus in a synergistic manner and presenting multiple cues.
For this special issue, both review and original articles are welcome
Keywords: Nanomedicine, drug-delivery, smart-materials, nanobiotechnology, nanomaterials
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