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. 2019 Jul;16(7):741-756.
doi: 10.1080/17425247.2019.1635116. Epub 2019 Jul 1.

Extended Release Formulations Using Silk Proteins for Controlled Delivery of Therapeutics

Free PMC article

Extended Release Formulations Using Silk Proteins for Controlled Delivery of Therapeutics

Burcin Yavuz et al. Expert Opin Drug Deliv. .
Free PMC article


Introduction: Silk is a promising biomaterial for controlled delivery of therapeutics and has a unique protein chemistry that can be tuned to form different carrier formats. The protein has been studied for sustained release depot systems for the targeted or localized delivery of drugs.

Areas covered: An overview of natural silk proteins for controlled delivery of therapeutics is provided, with a focus on the features of silk proteins that allow them to be useful tools for controlled delivery. Recent applications of natural silk proteins as controlled delivery systems are also summarized.

Expert opinion: The versatility of silk proteins makes them desirable biomaterials for a broad range of applications for controlled delivery of both small and large molecules. Further, the degradation profile leading to peptides and amino acids provides compatibility with pH-sensitive therapeutics. While silk sericin and spider silks are under study, silk fibroin extracted from silkworms (e.g. Bombyx mori) dominates pharmaceutical studies with silk. Silk fibroin can be formed into drug delivery tools for systemic or local injections, topical and transdermal applications, and implantation; depending on the target disease and therapeutic molecule. In vitro to in vivo correlations and scale-up needs are the next steps towards clinical applications.

Keywords: Silk; controlled release; drug delivery; hydrogels; implants; microneedles; nanoparticles.

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