CHAPTER 18: Smart Drug Delivery Systems for Tissue Engineering
Published:03 May 2017
Conventional drug delivery systems (DDSs) administer pharmaceutical agents, often in high doses, to achieve a therapeutic effect. However, there are several limitations associated with this method of delivery, such as poor site-specific bioavailability and systemic over-exposure to potentially toxic compounds. Recently, several smart DDSs have been formulated which resolve these pharmaceutical drug problems. DDSs increase the affinity and drug payload to specific tissues by using biodegradable polymeric drug carriers that bind specifically and selectively to target cells in response to specific molecular signals in the environment. Smart DDSs respond with a property change to variations in environmental conditions in order to maintain a desired dose of drug at a localised body compartment. Recent advances have led to the development of several novel DDSs, which respond to external (e.g. magnetic-field, electric-field, light) and internal (e.g. temperature, pH, light and even sugars) parameters to improve the therapeutic effect. Here, we describe smart DDSs and discuss their important physical and chemical features which enable tissue-specific targeting for various biomedical applications.