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Open AccessFeature PaperReview

Protein-Based Drug-Delivery Materials

by Dave Jao 1,2, Ye Xue 1,2, Jethro Medina 1 and Xiao Hu 1,2,3,*
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028, USA
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028, USA
Department of Biomedical and Translational Sciences, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: James Z. Tang and Charley Chuan-yu Wu
Materials 2017, 10(5), 517;
Received: 28 February 2017 / Revised: 18 April 2017 / Accepted: 6 May 2017 / Published: 9 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials for Drug Delivery and Biomedical Consideration)
There is a pressing need for long-term, controlled drug release for sustained treatment of chronic or persistent medical conditions and diseases. Guided drug delivery is difficult because therapeutic compounds need to survive numerous transport barriers and binding targets throughout the body. Nanoscale protein-based polymers are increasingly used for drug and vaccine delivery to cross these biological barriers and through blood circulation to their molecular site of action. Protein-based polymers compared to synthetic polymers have the advantages of good biocompatibility, biodegradability, environmental sustainability, cost effectiveness and availability. This review addresses the sources of protein-based polymers, compares the similarity and differences, and highlights characteristic properties and functionality of these protein materials for sustained and controlled drug release. Targeted drug delivery using highly functional multicomponent protein composites to guide active drugs to the site of interest will also be discussed. A systematical elucidation of drug-delivery efficiency in the case of molecular weight, particle size, shape, morphology, and porosity of materials will then be demonstrated to achieve increased drug absorption. Finally, several important biomedical applications of protein-based materials with drug-delivery function—including bone healing, antibiotic release, wound healing, and corneal regeneration, as well as diabetes, neuroinflammation and cancer treatments—are summarized at the end of this review. View Full-Text
Keywords: protein biopolymer; drug delivery; controlled release; silk; collagen; elastin; keratin protein biopolymer; drug delivery; controlled release; silk; collagen; elastin; keratin
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jao, D.; Xue, Y.; Medina, J.; Hu, X. Protein-Based Drug-Delivery Materials. Materials 2017, 10, 517.

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