Affiliation: Democritus University of Thrace Faculty of Agricultural Development, Department of Food Science and Technology Laboratory of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Hygiene, 68200 Orestiada, Greece.
The use of polymers in different fields of modern medicine has generated significant advances in tissue engineering, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. Polymers have been used to control the rate of drug release, prevent toxicity, protect drugs from degradation before delivery, target drugs to the site of action, improve absorption, bioavailability and therapeutic efficacy. Although synthetic polymers allow producing tailor-made materials, however natural polymers exhibit the advantages of excellent biodegradability, biocompatibility, cost-effectiveness and environmental friendliness. This review presents the current status of research and clinical applications of natural polymers as drug delivery systems for different administration routes.