Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Nanomedicine and nanobiotechnology 2016 4 29() doi 10.1002/wnan.1409
Advances in nanotechnology have had profound impacts on therapeutic delivery, leading to the development of nanomaterials engineered with large carrying capabilities and targeting functionalities. Among the nanomaterials, dendrimers have garnered particular attention from researchers owing to their well-defined structure, near-monodispersity, and ease of multifunctionalization. As hyperbranched, three-dimensional macromolecules, dendrimers can be engineered to target and deliver a wide range of therapeutic agents, including small molecules, peptides, and genes, reducing their systemic toxicities and enhancing efficacies. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the commonly employed dendrimer-based nanocarrier designs, including dendrimer conjugates, Janus dendrimers, and linear-dendritic block copolymers. The discussion will progress through the basic synthetic strategies of dendrimer-based nanocarriers, followed by the potential clinical applications related to their unique structural properties. Finally, the major challenges that these nanocarriers are currently facing in their clinical translation and possible solutions to address these issues will be discussed, with the aim to provide researchers in the drug delivery field a good understanding of the potential utilities of dendrimer-based nanocarriers. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.