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Home arrow Engineering arrow Emerging nanotechnologies for diagnostics, drug delivery and medical devices
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INTRODUCTION

Improved methods for diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), and other malignant tumors in the brain are desperately needed [1,2]. Despite the application of combination therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, brain disorders present an immense challenge due to rapid development and poor prognosis. Statistics published by the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, World Health Organization, and United Nations Children’s Fund in 2014 reported approximately 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS [3]. Additionally, more than 15,000 new cases of malignant gliomas are diagnosed in the United States every year. A major hurdle for treatment of HIV, GBM, and other CNS disorders is drug penetration into the brain parenchyma [4].

The CNS is a complex and delicate system surrounded by a natural protective barrier, called the blood—brain barrier (BBB). BBB limits entry of toxic substances such as bacteria and viruses while also preventing adequate brain availability of drugs and xenobi- otics. Additionally, brain tumors exhibit many distinctive characteristics relative to other tumors in peripheral tissues such as a complicated anatomical structure and the nature of oncogenesis. All these factors add to the complexity and subsequent failure of currently available therapeutic regimens [5].

The foremost challenge of CNS therapy is the delivery of therapeutics to target the brain with minimal effects on other tissues. First-pass metabolism of orally administered drugs and efflux pumps expressed on the BBB diminish the delivery of therapeutics to the brain [6]. This chapter primarily emphasizes on targeted delivery and diagnostic strategies as well as combination strategies to overcome these factors. This chapter will also serve as a valuable reference to researchers interested in learning the fundamental function of the BBB, in vivo monitoring and imaging oftherapeutics, and improving brain drug delivery via targeted approaches.

 
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