Carbohydrate nanocarriers in biomedical applications: functionalization and construction
The specific targeting of either tumor cells or immune cells in vivo by carefully designed and appropriately surface-functionalized nanocarriers may become an effective therapeutic treatment for a variety of diseases. Carbohydrates, which are prominent biomolecules, have shown their outstanding ability in balancing the biocompatibility, stability, biodegradability, and functionality of nanocarriers. The recent applications of sugar (mono/oligosaccharides and/or polysaccharides) for the development of nanomedicines are summarized in this review, including the application of carbohydrates for the surface-functionalization of various nanocarriers and for the construction of the nanocarrier itself. Current problems and challenges are also addressed.