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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 789289, 22 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/789289
Review Article

A Review of the Effect of Processing Variables on the Fabrication of Electrospun Nanofibers for Drug Delivery Applications

1Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Road, Parktown, Johannesburg 2193, South Africa
2School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, St. John’s University of Tanzania, Dodoma, Tanzania

Received 21 November 2012; Accepted 20 December 2012

Academic Editor: Lianjun Wang

Copyright © 2013 Viness Pillay et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Electrospinning is a fast emerging technique for producing ultrafine fibers by utilizing electrostatic repulsive forces. The technique has gathered much attention due to the emergence of nanotechnology that sparked worldwide research interest in nanomaterials for their preparation and application in biomedicine and drug delivery. Electrospinning is a simple, adaptable, cost-effective, and versatile technique for producing nanofibers. For effective and efficient use of the technique, several processing parameters need to be optimized for fabricating polymeric nanofibers. The nanofiber morphology, size, porosity, surface area, and topography can be refined by varying these parameters. Such flexibility and diversity in nanofiber fabrication by electrospinning has broadened the horizons for widespread application of nanofibers in the areas of drug and gene delivery, wound dressing, and tissue engineering. Drug-loaded electrospun nanofibers have been used in implants, transdermal systems, wound dressings, and as devices for aiding the prevention of postsurgical abdominal adhesions and infection. They show great promise for use in drug delivery provided that one can confidently control the processing variables during fabrication. This paper provides a concise incursion into the application of electrospun nanofibers in drug delivery and cites pertinent processing parameters that may influence the performance of the nanofibers when applied to drug delivery.