Editor: Michael U. Adikwu

Biopolymers in Drug Delivery: Recent Advances and Challenges

eBook: US $84 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $161
Printed Copy: US $119
Library License: US $336
ISBN: 978-1-60805-653-8 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-078-9 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2009
DOI: 10.2174/97816080507891090101


This Ebook describes the applicability of diverse natural and synthetic biopolymers and their blends in drugs, vaccines and gene delivery. It would serve as a concise body of information on biopolymers for researchers, industries and students of pharmaceutical, chemical, engineering and biomedical sciences. Practical and theoretical concepts are presented in depth. Examples of yet untapped indigenous African polymers with drug delivery potentials are highlighted. Many natural biopolymers with excellent drug delivery properties have not been appropriately exploited because there is very concise body of information that would demonstrate their potential. This Ebook should prove to be an important resource to researchers in the field.


Biopolymers are increasingly finding wide applications in the targeted delivery of drugs, genes and vaccines. Although synthetic biopolymers have been used as drug delivery vehicles for more than five decades, salient challenges related to their usually polydisperse nature, toxicity and bioincompatibility are still overwhelming. Hence, newer synthetic biopolymers are constantly being synthesized and evaluated for the delivery of various therapeutic agents. Natural biopolymers (which could either be plant- or animal-based) have been used in novel oral and nasal delivery of drugs and vaccines. Most natural biopolymers are bioadhesive and non-cytotoxic.

Although prototype natural biopolymers such as gelatin, collagen, alginates and chitosan have been widely used as plausible drug delivery vehicles, there still remains an arsenal of yet untapped biopolymers from nature. These include diverse African tropical polysaccharides (including prosopis gum, mucuna gum, tacca starch) and various tropical mucins (bovine, porcine and African snail mucin). Modification of these novel natural biopolymers has also yielded products with improved drug delivery capabilities.

The use of natural-synthetic polymer blends also offer unique and unlimited potentials of modifying the physicochemical and biological properties of the polymers.

This book will critically evaluate the potentials of these new generations of natural biopolymers vis-à-vis synthetic biopolymers in terms of their ability to deliver biopharmaceutical and biotechnological agents. Researchers, industries and students would be interested in this concise body of information. The contributing authors are drawn from a rich blend of experts in various areas of biopolymeric drug delivery systems.

Michael U. Adikwu
University of Nigeria