Standard Article

Cucurbituril Receptors and Drug Delivery

Molecular Recognition

  1. Anthony Ivan Day,
  2. J. Grant Collins

Published Online: 15 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470661345.smc056

Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials

Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials

How to Cite

Day, A. I. and Collins, J. G. 2012. Cucurbituril Receptors and Drug Delivery. Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials. .

Author Information

  1. UNSW@ADFA, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2012


The relatively new family of molecular host–guest macrocycles known as cucurbit[n]uril is discussed in the context of a drug delivery system. In less than a decade, cucurbit[n]uril and cucurbit[n]uril-based supramolecular structures have emerged as promising vehicles for drug delivery. For the first time, this review brings together the results of cucurbit[n]uril-drug studies and provides a general understanding of the relationship between drugs and this new type of molecular host.

Numerous examples are discussed that highlight the advantages and disadvantages that cucurbit[n]uril can offer, these include improvements in bioavailability and protection, increased stability, reduction in toxicity, and targeted delivery. The current knowledge of toxicology and pharmokinetics of cucurbit[n]uril is also evaluated. Finally, as a drug delivery vehicle, a number of mechanisms are discussed as to the release of the drug. Drug activity results are presented that indicate that there are generally minimal negative effects and there are significant advantages to drug encapsulation involving cucurbit[n]uril. General methods for the preparation of encapsulated drugs are provided, together with a convenient method of characterization using 1H NMR.


  • cucurbituril;
  • drug delivery;
  • encapsulation;
  • drug release mechanism;
  • cucurbituril toxicology