Enhancing the clinical benefits of pharmaceuticals at reduced doses with negligible side effects has been an ever-challenging goal in drug delivery. This pursuit towards an optimal formulation is hugely supported through the development of nanoparticulate delivery systems, which encapsulate the drug in its active form. Nanocarriers have emerged as successful candidates in pharmaceutics owing to their multifaceted characteristics such as the capability to entrap pharmaceutical ingredients at therapeutic dose, better biodistribution, size-dependent clearance, targetability, and controlled/sustained release of single or multiple payloads at the site of interest. Additionally, the requirement that the chosen carrier be biocompatible and biodegradable necessitates the use of biopolymers in entrapping payloads. Among the biopolymers, a wide variety of natural and synthetic carbohydrates and proteins (including starch, chitosan, chitin, dextran, alginate, albumin, casein, fibrin/fibrinogen, gelatin, collagen, whey protein, etc.) have evolved as useful materials for delivering hydrophobic or hydrophilic drugs through oral, intravenous, mucosal, ocular, or nasal routes. Targeted-controlled release of pharmaceuticals to diseased sites, environmentally stimulated drug release at desired locations, and many more drug release strategies have been made available by efficient engineering and nanoformulation of carbohydrate and protein biopolymers. This chapter embodies an in-depth discussion of various carbohydrate- and protein-based nanomedicines with respect to the formulation and properties of the nanoconstructs. The manipulation and utilization of these properties for development of better drug delivery devices is described and the toxicological interactions of these nanocarriers with host physiological systems discussed. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
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, “Proteins and carbohydrates as polymeric nanodrug delivery systems: Formulation, properties, and toxicological evaluation”, Advances in Polymer Science, vol. 254, pp. 241-268, 2013.