Introduction

One of the primary objectives in the development of drug delivery systems is the controlled delivery of a drug to its site of action at an optimal rate [1] and in the most efficient way possible. Targeting a drug to its site of action would not only improve the therapeutic efficacy but also enable a reduction in total dose of the drug which must be administered to achieve a therapeutic response, thus minimizing unwanted toxic effects. This concept of site-specific or targeted delivery was already envisioned by Paul Ehrlich around the early 1900s when he proposed the idea of the concept of the "Zauberkugel" (English: magic bullet).

One possibility to reach this goal may be drug delivery by nanoparticles. Chiefly due to their small particle size below 1 /m, these drug delivery systems offer various advantages for many medical and veterinary applications [2, 3]. This particle size enables intravenous and intraarterial injection since particles of this size can easily traverse even the smallest blood capillaries with inner diameters of 3-8 /m [4]. A small particle size also minimizes possible irritant reactions at the injection site [5, 6].

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