Small-scale systems for in vivo drug delivery

Nat Biotechnol. 2003 Oct;21(10):1184-91. doi: 10.1038/nbt876.


Recent developments in the application of micro- and nanosystems for drug administration include a diverse range of new materials and methods. New approaches include the on-demand activation of molecular interactions, novel diffusion-controlled delivery devices, nanostructured 'smart' surfaces and materials, and prospects for coupling drug delivery to sensors and implants. Micro- and nanotechnologies are enabling the design of novel methods such as radio-frequency addressing of individual molecules or the suppression of immune response to a release device. Current challenges include the need to balance the small scale of the devices with the quantities of drugs that are clinically necessary, the requirement for more stable sensor platforms, and the development of methods to evaluate these new materials and devices for safety and efficacy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods
  • Drug Delivery Systems / instrumentation*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Drug Implants*
  • Equipment Design
  • Infusion Pumps, Implantable*
  • Microfluidics / instrumentation*
  • Microfluidics / methods
  • Miniaturization / methods*
  • Nanotechnology / instrumentation*
  • Nanotechnology / methods
  • Nanotubes


  • Drug Implants