Multifunctional nanostructures: Intelligent design to overcome biological barriers

Mehdi Azizi, Rana Jahanban-Esfahlan, Hadi Samadian, Masoud Hamidi, Khaled Seidi*, Alireza Dolatshahi-Pirouz, Amirhossein Ahmadieh Yazdi, Amin Shavandi, Sophie Laurent, Mahsa Be Omide Hagh, Nahid Kasaiyan, Hélder A. Santos*, Mohammad Ali Shahbazi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review

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Over the past three decades, nanoscience has offered a unique solution for reducing the systemic toxicity of chemotherapy drugs and for increasing drug therapeutic efficiency. However, the poor accumulation and pharmacokinetics of nanoparticles are some of the key reasons for their slow translation into the clinic. The is intimately linked to the non-biological nature of nanoparticles and the aberrant features of solid cancer, which together significantly compromise nanoparticle delivery. New findings on the unique properties of tumors and their interactions with nanoparticles and the human body suggest that, contrary to what was long-believed, tumor features may be more mirage than miracle, as the enhanced permeability and retention based efficacy is estimated to be as low as 1%. In this review, we highlight the current barriers and available solutions to pave the way for approved nanoformulations. Furthermore, we aim to discuss the main solutions to solve inefficient drug delivery with the use of nanobioengineering of nanocarriers and the tumor environment. Finally, we will discuss the suggested strategies to overcome two or more biological barriers with one nanocarrier. The variety of design formats, applications and implications of each of these methods will also be evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100672
JournalMaterials Today Bio
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Biological barriers
  • Biotechnology
  • Cancer
  • Nanoparticles engineering
  • Nanotechnology
  • Targeted drug delivery


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