A biocompatible, nanoparticulate formulation has been designed to retain, protect, and deliver adenoviral gene constructs over an extended time course. Such devices can be administered locally or systemically with low toxicity. A multipolymeric nanoparticulate system, featuring very high stability in physiologic media, was designed to allow efficient in vitro gene transfer. The efficacy of nanoparticulate delivery is effective in cell systems that are normally refractory to gene transfer, such as pancreatic islets and antigen-presenting cells. The findings suggest a nonspecific uptake system that permits adenoviral particle release within the transfected cells. A comparison with literature data revealed that our system is efficient at much lower levels (at least three orders of magnitude) of infectious viral particles.