Nanobiotechnology in Drug Discovery & Development

Nanobiotechnology is a new field of science that introduces nanotechnology in the life sciences. Based on their specific biological and physicochemical properties, various nanostructures including polysaccharides, synthetic polymers, polymeric nanoparticles, and much more have made significant contributions to drug discovery and development. Many new promising technologies for the synthesis of nanoparticles offer a new opportunity for interdisciplinary researchers that can target, diagnose and treat diseases. Nowadays, nanotechnology focuses to improve drug-loaded delivery systems, diagnostic methods, and the development of new applications to improve human health.

Application of Nanotechnology in Medicine Fig.1 Application of Nanotechnology in Medicine (Grewal, 2018)

Nanobiotechnology for Drug Discovery & Development

Nanoparticles have unique advantages for drug discovery and development, regarding size, surface, pH, solubility, complexation, bioavailability, toxicity, and cellular and molecular effects. By immobilizing specific ligands on the surface of nanoparticles, researchers can use them for molecular detection and imaging, as well as new vectors for targeted drug and gene delivery. For example, the gold nanoparticles can be attached to an antibody or connected with a specific DNA sequence for diagnostics. The gold particles are very chemically reactive and can be used as catalysts. Their photothermal conversion properties in the near-infrared (NIR) region make them become an ideal photothermal therapy (PTT) regent. Some nanomaterials such as quantum dots (QDs) with unique optical properties are suitable for optical tracking and imaging, drug delivery, fluorescence immunoassay, and other medicinal applications. In addition to nanoparticles, some advanced nanodevices have also been developed for drug discovery and development. Utilizing electronically enhanced hybridization of complementary DNA strands, the nanochip system has been used in the fields of genomic diagnostics.

Nanobiotechnology in Designing of Drug Delivery System

Nanobiotechnology is not only be used for drug discovery and development but also has been developed in the designing of drug delivery systems. It can help researchers overcome drug delivery problems, including poor solubility, high molecular size, and low bioavailability for clinical candidates. The surface area and solubility of the drug can be increased by reducing the particle size in the nanometer scale. The nanotechnology-based formulations have excellent stability and are a better alternative to formulations that are non-stable and have lower shelf lives. In addition, nanotechnology-based formulations improve the bioavailability and release rate of macromolecules, reduce side effects, and improve safety. Some drugs are being developed using nanomaterials to help drugs stay in the body long enough for effective treatment and to provide site-specific targeting to reduce drug accumulation in healthy tissues. Nanotechnology also contributes to the development of noninvasive routes of drug administration methods. Currently, nanotechnology has evoked considerable interest in the pharmaceutical industry and has made significant contributions to drug delivery.

Schematized polymeric nanocarriers: (A) micelle, (B) polymeric nanoparticle, and (C) liposome Fig.2 Schematized polymeric nanocarriers: (A) micelle, (B) polymeric nanoparticle, and (C) liposome (Safari, 2014)

Nanobiotechnology in Molecular Diagnostic

In the medical field, nanobiotechnology plays a significant role to develop more sensitive diagnostic regents. It assists to explore the new dimensions of diagnostic tools. Nanoparticles such as gold and magnetic nanoparticles, quantum dots as well as carbon-based nanomaterials, were used in sensor development due to their electronic, optical, magnetic, and thermal properties. The nano bio-sensors work on the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials-based mechanism to investigate biochemical changes, including the existence and/or concentration of a biological analyte. Generally, the biosensors consist of a signal amplifier, signal transducer, and a reader to record and investigate the signal. In molecular diagnostic, nanobiotechnology has been widely used in the development of biochips/microarrays and the detection of protein and genomic DNA. The application of nano-biotechnology has greatly improved the sensitivity and accuracy of the detection method.


  1. Grewal, A., Lather, V., Sharma, N., Singh, S., Narang, R., Narang, J. and Pandita, D., 2018. Recent Updates on Nanomedicine Based Products: Current Scenario and Future Opportunities. Applied Clinical Research, Clinical Trials and Regulatory Affairs, 5(2), pp.132-144.
  2. Safari, J. and Zarnegar, Z., 2014. Advanced drug delivery systems: Nanotechnology of health design A review. Journal of Saudi Chemical Society, 18(2), pp.85-99.
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