Editorial Feature

Nanocapsules and Dendrimers - Properties and Future Applications

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A nanocapsule is any nanoparticle having a shell and space where desired substances can be encapsulated. Technologies used for microencapsulation of materials have existed for many years. Predominant applications are to minimize hygroscopy and chemical interactions, to prevent oxidation, and to release nutraceuticals in a controlled way.

The Use of Man-Made Liposomes

Man-made liposomes have been in use for a while in the cosmetics sector to regulate the release of substances or to safeguard them from the environment. In recent times, nanocapsules have been made using several other materials like polymers.

The Properties of Polymeric Nanocapsules

Polymeric nanocapsules can be produced in particular shapes, sizes, and in appropriate quantities. It is possible to make nanocapsules to function in different ways. They can be synthesized as monodisperse particles that have precisely defined electrical, biochemical, magnetic, and optical properties.

It is also possible to customize them to be appropriate to the complexity of the application they are developed for, such as in targeted drug-delivery systems to induce the release of the contents in response to a specific bimolecular triggering mechanism.

The Use of Nanocapsules as Smart Drugs

Nanocapsules can also be used as smart drugs with particular chemical receptors and binding only to certain cells. The drug is made “smart” by these receptors, thereby enabling it to target disease or cancer. Listed below are the benefits of nano-encapsulation technologies for pharmaceutical applications:

  • Longer site-specific dose retention
  • Higher dose loading even at smaller dose volumes
  • Greater bioavailability of the drug
  • Quicker absorption of active drug substances
  • Enhanced patient compliance
  • Higher efficacy and safety

The Future Benefits of Nanocapsules in Drugs

Apart from being able to deliver current drugs to their target, nanocapsules would enable an almost 10,000-fold reduction in drug dosages, thereby decreasing the detrimental side effects of drugs used in chemotherapy. Many drugs do not reach the market since they cause more side effects that are undesirable. Yet, when the same drug is placed within a nanocapsule and directly delivered to its intended target at a decreased dose, certain side effects are either prevented or at least reduced to an acceptable level.

Further Applications of Nanocapsules

Nanocapsules can also be potentially used in cosmetics, agrochemicals, wastewater treatments, genetic engineering, adhesive component applications, and cleaning products. It is possible to use them to encapsulate catalysts, enzymes, adhesives, oils, inorganic micro- and nanoparticles, polymers, latex particles, or even biological cells.

What is a Dendrimer?

A dendrimer is an artificially produced large molecule that is formed by linking many smaller molecules together—developed from branched units known as monomers. In theory, dendrimers are an exclusive class of a polymer having a size close to that of an average protein and a compact, tree-like molecular structure, which offers a high degree of versatility and surface functionality.

Due to their shape, dendrimers have a wider surface area, rendering them useful to create carrier molecules and blocks at the nanoscale. They are also available in a range of forms, with different physical (such as electrical, optical, and chemical) properties.

Dendrimer as a Biologically Active Carrier

In drug delivery, dendrimers can function as biologically active carrier molecules to which therapeutic agents can be bound. They can also act as scavengers of metal ions, thereby facilitating environmental clean-up operations since their size enables them to be filtered out using ultra-filtration methods.

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