The use of nanoparticles (NPs) in medical applications is rapidly growing, with more than 30 NP-based drugs approved for clinical use. Different building blocks are used to generate NPs for drug and imaging delivery tasks. Among them, carbohydrates represent an exciting option that is currently being exploited in vivo and in clinical trials. Carbohydrates have excellent biocompatibility, biodegradability, low toxicity, and low cost. In addition, the ease of chemical modification enables the preparation of a wide collection of NPs for a variety of tasks. Here, we will describe the properties of common carbohydrates and the main mechanisms for carbohydrates-based NP preparation and discuss several key concepts from the physicochemical and structural features of NP-based carbohydrates for pre-clinical and clinical applications.
- Drug delivery
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