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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Nanomedicine for respiratory diseases

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Abstract Treatment of respiratory diseases and infections has proved to be a challenging task, with the incidence of these ailments increasing worldwide. Nanotechnology‐based drug and gene delivery systems offer a possible solution to some of the shortfalls of the current treatment regimen. Nanobased drug delivery systems have revolutionised the field of pharmacotherapy by presenting the ability to alter the pharmacokinetics of the conventional drugs to extend the drug retention time, reduce the toxicity and increase the half‐life of the drugs. Delivery of exogenous genes to the airway epithelium in vivo has been limited by several physiological barriers, resulting in the low success rate of these systems. With the advent of nanotechnology, DNA compacted with cationic polymers to produce nanoparticles has exhibited a significant increase in the transfection efficiencies. With nanoparticulate drug/gene delivery systems, specific cells can be targeted by functionalising the polymeric nanoparticles with ligands that allow the particles to dock at a specific site of the cell. In addition, polymeric systems allow for the cargo to be released in a controlled and stimuli‐responsive manner. The advantages that nanoparticulate delivery systems present in the treatment of respiratory diseases and infections are summarised in this review. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article is categorized under: Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Respiratory Disease

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Schematic illustration of targeted delivery of genes to the lung via magnetic nanoparticle based delivery. (a) Illustrates attraction of the inhaled magnetic nanoparticles to the high gradient magnets. (b) A section view illustrating magnetic particles in contact with the mucus lining of the lung. (Reprinted with permission from Ref 70. Copyright 2006 Keele University).

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(a) Compacted DNA containing the luciferase gene. (b) Bioluminescent image of mice injected with the DNA. (Personal Communication: A. Ziady, Ph.D. at Case Western Reserve University).

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