Nanotechnological strategies for treatment of leishmaniasis-a review
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The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than one billion people suffer from neglected tropical diseases. Leishmaniasis is a widespread disease, affecting 12 million people around the world with about 1-2 million estimated new cases occurring every year. Although pentavalent antimonial drugs are the most frequently prescribed treatments for leishmaniasis, they produce severe side effects, including cardiotoxicity and hepatotoxicity. Other compounds, such as amphotericin B, pentamidine and miltefosine, are second choice drugs, but they also produce side effects that can endanger the patient's life. Nowadays, there are two approaches to develop new therapies: one is the search for new drugs and the other is the optimization of actual drug formulation. Traditional drug discovery takes 10 to 12 years in general and involves high costs; around one billion dollars on average to develop a drug. A possibility to improve leishmaniasis treatment would be the application of nanotechnology-drug delivery systems which can enhance the therapeutic potency of existing drugs by optimizing their adsorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) and reducing toxicity. In this review we will discuss examples how nanotechnology-drug delivery systems have been used to improve the therapeutic aspects of existing antileishmanial drugs.
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