Bioinspired Shielding Strategies for Nanoparticle Drug Delivery Applications

Mol Pharm. 2018 Aug 6;15(8):2900-2909. doi: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.8b00292. Epub 2018 May 15.


Nanoparticle delivery systems offer advantages over free drugs, in that they increase solubility and biocompatibility. Nanoparticles can deliver a high payload of therapeutic molecules while limiting off-target side effects. Therefore, delivery of an existing drug with a nanoparticle frequently results in an increased therapeutic index. Whether of synthetic or biologic origin, nanoparticle surface coatings are often required to reduce immune clearance and thereby increase circulation times allowing the carriers to reach their target site. To this end, polyethylene glycol (PEG) has long been used, with several PEGylated products reaching clinical use. Unfortunately, the growing use of PEG in consumer products has led to an increasing prevalence of PEG-specific antibodies in the human population, which in turn has fueled the search for alternative coating strategies. This review highlights alternative bioinspired nanoparticle shielding strategies, which may be more beneficial moving forward than PEG and other synthetic polymer coatings.

Keywords: PEG; antifouling; bioinspired; coatings; nanoparticles; shielding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomimetic Materials / adverse effects
  • Biomimetic Materials / chemistry*
  • Chemical Engineering / methods
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Click Chemistry
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Carriers / adverse effects
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects
  • Nanoparticles / adverse effects
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / adverse effects
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry


  • Drug Carriers
  • Polyethylene Glycols