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Genetically engineered nanocarriers for drug delivery

Authors Shi P, Gustafson J, MacKay JA

Received 9 November 2013

Accepted for publication 29 January 2014

Published 26 March 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 1617—1626


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Pu Shi, Joshua A Gustafson, J Andrew MacKay

Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Abstract: Cytotoxicity, low water solubility, rapid clearance from circulation, and off-target side-effects are common drawbacks of conventional small-molecule drugs. To overcome these shortcomings, many multifunctional nanocarriers have been proposed to enhance drug delivery. In concept, multifunctional nanoparticles might carry multiple agents, control release rate, biodegrade, and utilize target-mediated drug delivery; however, the design of these particles presents many challenges at the stage of pharmaceutical development. An emerging solution to improve control over these particles is to turn to genetic engineering. Genetically engineered nanocarriers are precisely controlled in size and structure and can provide specific control over sites for chemical attachment of drugs. Genetically engineered drug carriers that assemble nanostructures including nanoparticles and nanofibers can be polymeric or non-polymeric. This review summarizes the recent development of applications in drug and gene delivery utilizing nanostructures of polymeric genetically engineered drug carriers such as elastin-like polypeptides, silk-like polypeptides, and silk-elastin-like protein polymers, and non-polymeric genetically engineered drug carriers such as vault proteins and viral proteins.

Keywords: polymeric drug carrier, non-polymeric drug carrier, gene delivery, GE drug carriers

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