Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis: Principles and Methodology
Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis represents a rapid and information-rich multi-parameter nanoparticle characterization technique allowing the user to obtain number frequency particle size distributions of polydisperse nanoparticulate systems. It has resulted in its rapid adoption as an interesting new technique in a wide range of sectors within the pharmaceutical sciences. This Chapter 5 addresses some of the latest work reported in the literature in which NTA has been proposed, used and assessed in the study of nanoparticle-based drug delivery and targeting.
It is well established that the use of nanotechnology in medicine and more specifically drug delivery is spreading rapidly. Driven by the diminishing rate of discovery of new biologically active compounds that can be exploited therapeutically to treat disease and with fewer new drugs entering the market every year, interest in the use of nanoparticle’s versatile and multifunctional structures for the delivery of existing drugs has grown rapidly. Nanoparticles offer better pharmacokinetic properties, controlled and sustained release, and targeting of specific cells, tissues or organs such (e.g. in new ways in which to cross the blood-brain barrier). All these features can improve the efficacy of existing drugs (Malam et al., 2011). Nanoparticles in this context have been defined as colloidal systems of submicron size that can be constructed from a large variety of materials in a large variety of compositions. Commonly defined nanoparticle vectors include: liposomes, micelles, dendrimers, solid lipid nanoparticles, metallic nanoparticles, semiconductor nanoparticles and polymeric nanoparticles. Therefore, nanoparticles have been extensively employed to deliver drugs, genes, vaccines and diagnostics into specific cells/tissues (Ram et al., 2011).
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