Multifunctionalized polymer microcapsules: novel tools for biological and pharmacological applications

Small. 2007 Jun;3(6):944-55. doi: 10.1002/smll.200600622.


We describe recent developments with multifunctional nanoengineered polymer capsules. In addition to their obvious use as a delivery system, multifunctional nanocontainers find wide application in enzymatic catalysis, controlled release, and directed drug delivery in medicine. The multifunctionality is provided by the following components: 1) Luminescent semiconductor nanocrystals (quantum dots) that facilitate imaging and identification of different capsules, 2) superparamagnetic nanoparticles that allow manipulation of the capsules in a magnetic field, 3) surface coatings, which target the capsules to desired cells, 4) metallic nanoparticles in the capsule wall that act as an absorbing antenna for electromagnetic fields and provide heat for controlled release, and 5) enzymes and pharmaceutical agents that allow specific reactions. The unique advantage of multifunctional microcapsules in comparison to other systems is that they can be simultaneously loaded/functionalized with the above components, allowing for the combination of their properties in a single object.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Coloring Agents
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Liposomes / administration & dosage
  • Magnetics
  • Nanocapsules / administration & dosage*
  • Permeability
  • Polymers / administration & dosage*
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Prodrugs
  • Rats
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Surface Properties
  • Vero Cells


  • Coloring Agents
  • Liposomes
  • Nanocapsules
  • Polymers
  • Prodrugs