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Modified Polysaccharides as Carriers for Biomolecules

[ Vol. 3 , Issue. 4 ]


Soma Patnaik, Priyanka Bhatnagar, Ruby Bansal, Joyita Sarkar, Ashok Kumar, Pradeep Kumar and Kailash C. Gupta   Pages 261 - 287 ( 27 )


Background: Synthetic and natural polymers and their modified derivatives are widely being used in various biomedical applications. Recently, natural polymers (polysaccharides) and their modified analogs, in particular, have attracted the attention of the researchers to use these materials specifically as drug delivery systems and macromolecular prodrugs. These applications have opened up new avenues to design and develop such materials capable of delivering therapeutic drugs (conventional and nucleic acid-based) to the targeted tissues/cells in a controlled manner. Biodegradability, biocompatibility and non-toxic nature have made them quite useful for such applications.

Methods: Various polysaccharide-based delivery agents, developed over the last ten years, and their applications have been reviewed in detail.

Results: Polysaccharides conjugated to various ligands have been shown to deliver anticancer drugs and genetic materials inside the cells. Some of them have displayed their targeting ability i.e. delivery of a drug / gene to a specific tissue/cell. For gene delivery applications, these polysaccharides have been modified to incorporate cationic charge density facilitating interactions of the complexes with the cell membranes and their uptake. Likewise, anti-cancer drugs have been delivered by self-assembled formulations of modified polysaccharides in a controlled manner. Besides, a brief description of the methods of their preparation has also been outlined. These formations have clearly demonstrated the significance of polysaccharide-based delivery agents. Some of these formulations are in various phases of clinical trials.

Conclusion: A wide range of polysaccharide-based conjugates have been designed, synthesized and evaluated for their ability to transport drug/gene inside the cells. Further studies would establish the superiority of such formulations in the medical applications.


Biomolecule carrier, chitosan, dextran, hyaluronic acid, guar gum, gellan gum, xanthan gum, alginic acid, pullulan.


CSIR- Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Mall Road, Delhi University Campus, Delhi, 110007, India.

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