Editorial Feature

Nanocapsules and Dendrimers - Properties and Future Applications

A nanocapsule is any nanoparticle that consists of a shell and a space, in which desired substances may be placed. Technologies for microencapsulating materials have been around for several years, primarily for applications involving minimisation of hygroscopy and chemical interactions, elimination of oxidation, and controlled release of nutraceuticals.

The Use Of Man-Made Liposomes

Man-made liposome’s have been used in cosmetics for some years to control the release of substances or protect them from the environment. Recently many other materials, such as polymers, have been used to make nanocapsules.

The Properties Of Polymeric Nanocapsules

Polymeric nanocapsules can be made in specific sizes, shapes, and in reasonable quantities. Nanocapsules can be made to function in various ways. They can be produced as monodisperse particles with exactly defined biochemical, electrical, optical, and magnetic properties. They can be tailored to suit the complexity of whatever application they are intended for, such causing the release of the contents in response to a particular bimolecular triggering mechanism in targeted drug-delivery systems.

The Use Of Nanocapsules As Smart Drugs

Nanocapsules can be used as smart drugs that have specific chemical receptors and only bind to specific cells. It is this receptor that makes the drug ‘smart,’ allowing it to target cancer or disease. The advantages of nano-encapsulation technologies for pharmaceutical applications include:

•        Higher dose loading with smaller dose volumes

•        Longer site-specific dose retention

•        More rapid absorption of active drug substances

•        Increased bioavailability of the drug

•        Higher safety and efficacy

•        Improved patient compliance

The Future Benefits Of Nanocapsules In Drugs

Beyond the ability to deliver existing drugs to their target, nanocapsules would allow for as much as a 10,000-fold decrease in drug dosages, reducing the harmful side effects of drugs used in chemotherapy. Quite often, drugs don’t make it to market is because they have too many unwanted side effects. However, placing the same drug inside a nanocapsule and delivering it directly to its intended target in a reduced dosage, eliminates some of those side effects, or at least reduces them to an acceptable level.

Further Applications Of Nanocapsules

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

What Is A Dendrimer?

A dendrimer is an artificially manufactured or synthesized large molecule comprised of many smaller ones linked together - built up from branched units called monomers. Technically, dendrimers are a unique class of a polymer, about the size of an average protein, with a compact, tree-like molecular structure, which provides a high degree of surface functionality and versatility. Their shape gives them vast amounts of surface area, making them useful building blocks and carrier molecules at the nanoscale and they come in a variety of forms, with different physical (including optical, electrical and chemical) properties.

Dendrimer As A Biologically Active Carrier

Dendrimers can act as biologically active carrier molecules in drug delivery to which can be attached therapeutic agents and as scavengers of metal ions, offering the potential for environmental clean-up operations because their size allows them to be filtered out with ultra-filtration techniques.

Primary author: Institute of Nanotechnology

Source: Introduction to Nanotechnology CD ROM

For more information on this source please visit Institute of Nanotechnology

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