Exploiting the placenta for nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery during pregnancy

Christian G. Figueroa-Espada, Michael J. Mitchell, Rachel S. Riley, Samuel Hofbauer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


A major challenge to treating diseases during pregnancy is that small molecule therapeutics are transported through the placenta and incur toxicities to the developing fetus. The placenta is responsible for providing nutrients, removing waste, and protecting the fetus from toxic substances. Thus, the placenta acts as a biological barrier between the mother and fetus that can be exploited for drug delivery. Nanoparticle technologies provide the opportunity for safe drug delivery during pregnancy by controlling how therapeutics interact with the placenta. In this Review, we present nanoparticle drug delivery technologies specifically designed to exploit the placenta as a biological barrier to treat maternal, placental, or fetal diseases exclusively, while minimizing off-target toxicities. Further, we discuss opportunities, challenges, and future directions for implementing drug delivery technologies during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-261
Number of pages18
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
StatePublished - May 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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