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Micro and nanoscale drug carriers must navigate through a plethora of dynamic biological systems prior to reaching their tissue or disease targets. The biological obstacles to drug delivery come in many forms and include tissue barriers, mucus and bacterial biofilm hydrogels, the immune system, and cellular uptake and intracellular trafficking. The biointerface of drug carriers influences how these carriers navigate and overcome biological barriers for successful drug delivery. In this review, we examine how key material design parameters lead to dynamic biointerfaces and improved drug delivery across biological barriers. We provide a brief overview of approaches used to engineer key physicochemical properties of drug carriers, such as morphology, surface chemistry, and topography, as well as the development of dynamic responsive materials for barrier navigation. We then discuss essential biological barriers and how biointerface engineering can enable drug carriers to better navigate and overcome these barriers to drug delivery.

Original publication




Journal article


Adv Drug Deliv Rev

Publication Date





89 - 108


Barriers, Biofilm, Biointerface, Cell uptake, Drug delivery, Immune system, Mucus, Nanomaterials, Physicochemical, Tight junctions, Biomedical Engineering, Blood-Brain Barrier, Chemistry, Pharmaceutical, Drug Administration Routes, Drug Carriers, Humans, Hydrogels, Mucus, Nanoparticles, Particle Size, Skin Absorption, Surface Properties, Tight Junctions