Biomedical applications of biopolymers in airway disease

George T. Noutsios, Anastasia A. Pantazaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Airway disease is a group of devastating conditions the prevalence of which has increased substantially in past decades despite the advanced therapeutic interventions. The term describes several events that lead to lung tissue scarring, poor lung circulation, and airway obstruction that prevent the lungs from working properly. Biodegradable polymers have emerged as significant advancements of modern medicine. In this review, we sought to discuss the clinical potential of biopolymers in airway disease. First, we describe succinctly the biosynthesis of biomaterials, their use in lung tissue scaffolding, and their use as substrates for in vitro culture of respiratory epithelial cells. We then discuss their utilization as bio-absorbable nanostructured drug delivery systems that combat lung cancer and prevent metastasis by targeting lung cancer stem-like cells. Additionally, we review the use of biopolymers as substitutes of pulmonary surfactant in acute respiratory distress syndrome. We bring forward the use of biopolymers as surgical implants in lung blood vessels. Also, the encapsulation of plasmids or antibiotics in polymer-based nanoparticles is discussed for pulmonary gene therapy in the context of modulating the function of alveolar macrophages, dendritic cells and adaptive immune responses. The use of nanoparticles for nasal, bronchial and lung vaccine administration is also reviewed as a novel method to induce favorable immune responses at the respiratory mucosa with the potential to induce systemic immunity. This review summarizes the most recent advances in the field over the past decade, specifically highlighting new and interesting applications in airway disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-34
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Drug delivery systems
  • Lung disease
  • Lung tissue engineering
  • Nanovaccinology
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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