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Post-nano strategies for drug delivery: multistage porous silicon microvectors

Alessandro Venuta, Joy Wolfram, Haifa Shenad and Mauro Ferrari
Research summary:

Nanodelivery systems usually improve the biodistribution of  drugs, leading to reduced side effects and enhanced therapeutic efficacy.  However, only a small portion of the injected nanoparticle dose accumulates  in pathological tissue. Challenges in drug delivery arise due to a multitude  of transport obstacles in the body, including the endothelium, the extracellular matrix, and the cell membrane. In general, nanoparticles are  designed to overcome only a few biological barriers, making them inadequate  for localized drug delivery. Accordingly, multifunctional and multicomponent  systems are required to effectively address a wide variety of transport  obstacles. A suitable approach to obtain high levels of multifunctionality is  to bring together the nanoscale with the microscale, resulting in post-nano  strategies for drug delivery. This review discusses several such post-nano approaches, with an emphasis on the multistage vector (MSV) platform. The MSV  consists of three components on different spatial scales, each intended to  address biological barriers that exist in a specific compartment in the body.  The first stage vector is a microparticle that is designed to navigate in the  vascular compartment. The second stage vector consists of nanoparticles that  are released from the microparticle into the tissue interstitium, where they  address biological barriers in extracellular and intracellular compartments. The final component of the system is a small molecule therapeutic agent. A  new generation of microparticle-based strategies with expanded applications  has recently been developed, including injectable nanoparticle generators and  silicon particles for immunotherapy. Notably, the advantage of incorporating  microstructures in drug delivery vehicles is apparent from the observation  that superior functionality only appears on the microscale, highlighting the  inherent functional limitations of nanostructures.

Venuta et al. J. Mater. Chem. B, 2017, 5, 207--219
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