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Issue 40, 2013
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Self assembled materials: design strategies and drug delivery perspectives

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Self assembly of small molecules in complex supramolecular structures provides a new avenue in the development of materials for drug delivery applications. Owing to the low aqueous solubility of various drugs, an effective delivery system is often required to reach sufficient drug bioavailability and/or to facilitate clinical use. Micelles, amphiphilic gels, vesicles (liposomes), nanodisks, cubosomes, colloidosomes, tubules, microemulsions, lipid particles, polyelectrolyte capsules etc. are some of the intriguing structures formed via self assembly. As well as enabling improved solubilization, such materials can be tuned to offer a range of other advantages, including controlled or stimuli sensitive drug release, protection from drug hydrolysis and chemical or enzymatic degradation, a reduction in toxicity, improvement of drug availability, prevention of RES uptake or selective targeting to organelles etc. Such multiple functionalities can be brought together by self assembly of different functional molecules. This route offers a cost effective means of developing drug delivery carriers tailored to specific needs. Our current understanding of the microstructure evolution of self assembled materials will go a long way towards designing/selecting molecules to create well defined structures. We believe that most of the potential resources mentioned above are untapped and that there is a need to further strengthen research in this area to fully exploit their potential. Selective cross linking of core or shell, stimuli sensitive amphiphiles, prodrug amphiphiles, antibody coupled amphiphiles etc. are only some of the new approaches for the development of effective drug delivery systems via self assembly.

Graphical abstract: Self assembled materials: design strategies and drug delivery perspectives

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Mar 2013, accepted on 04 Jul 2013 and first published on 05 Jul 2013

Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/C3CP51207J
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013,15, 17016-17028

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    Self assembled materials: design strategies and drug delivery perspectives

    G. Verma and P. A. Hassan, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013, 15, 17016
    DOI: 10.1039/C3CP51207J

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