Polymeric nanoparticles in development for treatment of pulmonary infectious diseases

Young H. Lim, Kristin M. Tiemann, David A. Hunstad, Mahmoud Elsabahy, Karen L. Wooley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Serious lung infections, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and chronic obstructive cystic fibrosis-related bacterial diseases, are increasingly difficult to treat and can be life-threatening. Over the last decades, an array of therapeutics and/or diagnostics have been exploited for management of pulmonary infections, but the advent of drug-resistant bacteria and the adverse conditions experienced upon reaching the lung environment urge the development of more effective delivery vehicles. Nanotechnology is revolutionizing the approach to circumventing these barriers, enabling better management of pulmonary infectious diseases. In particular, polymeric nanoparticle-based therapeutics have emerged as promising candidates, allowing for programmed design of multi-functional nanodevices and, subsequently, improved pharmacokinetics and therapeutic efficiency, as compared to conventional routes of delivery. Direct delivery to the lungs of such nanoparticles, loaded with appropriate antimicrobials and equipped with ‘smart’ features to overcome various mucosal and cellular barriers, is a promising approach to localize and concentrate therapeutics at the site of infection while minimizing systemic exposure to the therapeutic agents. The present review focuses on recent progress (2005–2015) important for the rational design of nanostructures, particularly polymeric nanoparticles, for the treatment of pulmonary infections with highlights on the influences of size, shape, composition, and surface characteristics of antimicrobial-bearing polymeric nanoparticles on their biodistribution, therapeutic efficacy, and toxicity. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2016, 8:842–871. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1401. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-871
Number of pages30
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


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