Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) comprise of a group of seventeen infectious conditions endemic in many developing countries. Among these diseases are three of protozoan origin, namely leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and African trypanosomiasis, caused by the parasites Leishmania spp., Trypanosoma cruzi, and Trypanosoma brucei respectively. These diseases have their own unique challenges which are associated with the development of effective prevention and treatment methods. Collectively, these parasitic diseases cause more deaths worldwide than all other NTDs combined. Moreover, many current therapies for these diseases are limited in their efficacy, possessing harmful or potentially fatal side effects at therapeutic doses. It is therefore imperative that new treatment strategies for these parasitic diseases are developed. Nanoparticulate drug delivery systems have emerged as a promising area of research in the therapy and prevention of NTDs. These delivery systems provide novel mechanisms for targeted drug delivery within the host, maximizing therapeutic effects while minimizing systemic side effects. Currently approved drugs may also be repackaged using these delivery systems, allowing for their potential use in NTDs of protozoan origin. Current research on these novel delivery systems has provided insight into possible indications, with evidence demonstrating their improved ability to specifically target pathogens, penetrate barriers within the host, and reduce toxicity with lower dose regimens. In this review, we will examine current research on these delivery systems, focusing on applications in the treatment of leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and African trypanosomiasis. Nanoparticulate systems present a unique therapeutic alternative through the repositioning of existing medications and directed drug delivery.
Keywords: Leishmaniasis, Chagas, Trypanosomiasis, Nanoparticles, Liposomes, Nanotubes, Nanodiscs, Micelles.