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High drug-loading nanomedicines: progress, current status, and prospects

Authors Shen SH, Wu YS, Liu YC, Wu DC

Received 19 January 2017

Accepted for publication 2 May 2017

Published 31 May 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 4085—4109

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S132780

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Alexander Kharlamov

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang


Shihong Shen, Youshen Wu, Yongchun Liu, Daocheng Wu

Key Laboratory of Biomedical Information Engineering of Education Ministry, School of Life Science and Technology, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Drug molecules transformed into nanoparticles or endowed with nanostructures with or without the aid of carrier materials are referred to as “nanomedicines” and can overcome some inherent drawbacks of free drugs, such as poor water solubility, high drug dosage, and short drug half-life in vivo. However, most of the existing nanomedicines possess the drawback of low drug-loading (generally less than 10%) associated with more carrier materials. For intravenous administration, the extensive use of carrier materials might cause systemic toxicity and impose an extra burden of degradation, metabolism, and excretion of the materials for patients. Therefore, on the premise of guaranteeing therapeutic effect and function, reducing or avoiding the use of carrier materials is a promising alternative approach to solve these problems. Recently, high drug-loading nanomedicines, which have a drug-loading content higher than 10%, are attracting increasing interest. According to the fabrication strategies of nanomedicines, high drug-loading nanomedicines are divided into four main classes: nanomedicines with inert porous material as carrier, nanomedicines with drug as part of carrier, carrier-free nanomedicines, and nanomedicines following niche and complex strategies. To date, most of the existing high drug-loading nanomedicines belong to the first class, and few research studies have focused on other classes. In this review, we investigate the research status of high drug-loading nanomedicines and discuss the features of their fabrication strategies and optimum proposal in detail. We also point out deficiencies and developing direction of high drug-loading nanomedicines. We envision that high drug-loading nanomedicines will occupy an important position in the field of drug-delivery systems, and hope that novel perspectives will be proposed for the development of high drug-loading nanomedicines.

Keywords: nanomedicines, nanocarriers, high drug loading, fabrication strategy, optimum proposal

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