Supramolecular devices to improve the treatment of brain diseases

Drug Discov Today. 2011 Apr;16(7-8):311-24. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2011.02.006. Epub 2011 Feb 15.


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) hinders the accumulation of active compounds in the central nervous system, thus decreasing their therapeutic effectiveness. To overcome this obstacle, interesting supramolecular nanodevices are herein considered. These systems have many advantages over the conventional formulations, such as having structures made up of biocompatible and biodegradable materials, the possibility of bypassing the BBB in a non-invasive manner (without structural modifications) and the possibility of being structurally modified to modulate the biopharmaceutical properties of the encapsulated compounds. Polymolecular (liposomes, niosomes, nanogels) and oligomolecular (cyclodextrins) devices have potential clinical applications in brain drug delivery, being capable of active targeting that can concentrate bioactives in the brain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology
  • Brain Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Drug Carriers*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Humans
  • Liposomes


  • Drug Carriers
  • Liposomes