The central nervous system (CNS) poses a unique challenge for drug delivery. The blood-brain barrier significantly hinders the passage of systemically delivered therapeutics and the brain extracellular matrix limits the distribution and longevity of locally delivered agents. Polymeric nanoparticles represent a promising solution to these problems. Over the past 40years, substantial research efforts have demonstrated that polymeric nanoparticles can be engineered for effective systemic and local delivery of therapeutics to the CNS. Moreover, many of the polymers used in nanoparticle fabrication are both biodegradable and biocompatible, thereby increasing the clinical utility of this strategy. Here, we review the major advances in the development of polymeric nanoparticles for drug delivery to the CNS.
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