Overcoming T. gondii infection and intracellular protein nanocapsules as biomaterials for ultrasonically controlled drug release

L. Paniwnyk, M. S. Aw

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


One of the pivotal matters of concern in intracellular drug delivery is the preparation of biomaterials containing drugs that are compatible with the host target. Nanocapsules for oral delivery are found to be suitable candidates for targeting Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), a maneuvering and smart protozoic parasite found across Europe and America that causes a subtle but deadly infection. To overcome this disease, there is much potential of integrating protein-based cells into bioinspired nanocompartments such as via biodegradable cross-linked disulfide polyelectrolyte nanoparticles. The inner membrane vesicle system of these protein-drugs is not as simple as one might think. It is a complex transport network that includes sequential pathways, namely, endocytosis, exocytosis and autophagy. Unfortunately, the intracellular trafficking routes for nanoparticles in cells have not been extensively and intensively investigated. Hence, there lies the need to create robust protein nanocapsules for precise tracing and triggering of drug release to combat this protozoic disease. Protein nanocapsules have the advantage over other biomaterials due to their biocompatibility, use of natural ingredients, non-invasiveness, patient compliance, cost and time effectiveness. They also offer low maintenance, non-toxicity to healthy cells and a strictly defined route toward intracellular elimination through controlled drug delivery within the therapeutic window. This review covers the unprecedented opportunities that exist for constructing advanced nanocapsules to meet the growing needs arising from many therapeutic fields. Their versatile use includes therapeutic ultrasound for tumor imaging, recombinant DNA, ligand and functional group binding, the delivery of drugs and peptides via protein nanocapsules and polyelectrolytes, ultrasound-(US)-aided drug release through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and the recent progress in targeting tumor cells and a vast range of cancer therapies. This review also outlines the limitations of current technologies and the directions of future outlook.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1944-1961
Number of pages18
JournalBiomaterials Science
Issue number10
Early online date20 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)


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