Nanovehicles for Intracellular Protein Delivery


Protein therapeutics holds significant promise for improving human health. Our organism contains thousands of proteins, which perform essential functions in growth, development and metabolism regulation.

Many diseases arise from the alterations in the functions of intracellular proteins. Therefore, the administration of therapeutic proteins has shown great potential in the treatment of many diseases, including cancer and diabetes. Protein therapeutics has emerged since the 1980s and represents currently a significant part of biopharmaceuticals.

The application of nanotechnology in the field of drug delivery systems has attracted much attention in the latest decades. Recent breakthroughs have demonstrated that nanoparticle-based drug delivery platforms are an excellent alternative for the efficient delivery of, not only low molecular weight therapeutic agents, but for the release of genes and proteins as well. In the case of intracellular protein delivery, these nanovehicles can accomplish critical functions to achieve the optimal therapeutic effect of protein drugs.

In principle, these nanocarriers can also avoid the uptake by the macrophagocytic system (MPS) by attenuating the receptor-mediated pathway. Moreover, the high surface to volume ratio of nanoparticles also leads to improved pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of the therapeutic proteins. A crucial feature of this delivery approach is the flexibility of tailoring the chemical and physical properties of the nanovehicle through controlled synthesis, assembly and chemical modifications. In summary, nanocarriers show several advantages for the effective and safe intracellular delivery of therapeutic proteins. 

Aaron Province
Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials
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