Therapeutic potential of carbohydrate-based polymeric and nanoparticle systems

Rajesh Sunasee, Christian K. Adokoh, James Darkwa, Ravin Narain

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Carbohydrates are key participants in many biological processes including reproduction, inflammation, signal transmission and infection. Their biocompatibility and ability to be recognized by cell-surface receptors illustrate their potential therapeutic applications. αYet, they are not ideal candidates because they are complex and tedious to synthesize. However, recent advances in the field of polymer science and nanotechnology have led to the design of biologically relevant carbohydrate mimics for therapeutic uses. This review focuses mainly on the therapeutic potential of glycopolymers and glyconanoparticles (GNPs). Areas covered: The significance of engineered glycopolymers and GNPs as nanomedicine is highlighted in areas such as targeted drug delivery, gene therapy, signal transduction, vaccine development, protein stabilization and anti-adhesion therapy. Expert opinion: Major effort should be focused towards the design and synthesis of more complex and biologically relevant carbohydrate mimics in order to have a better understanding of the carbohydrate-carbohydrate and carbohydrate-protein interactions. The full therapeutic potential of these carbohydrate-based polymeric and nanoparticles systems can be achieved once the pivotal participation of the carbohydrates in biological systems is clarified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-884
Number of pages18
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Delivery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Drug and gene delivery
  • Glyconanoparticles
  • Glycopolymers
  • Signal transduction
  • Therapeutics
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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