A Review of Stimuli-Responsive Nano Carriers for Drug and Gene Delivery

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Northeastern University, 110 Mugar Life Sciences Building, Boston, MA 02115, United States.
Journal of Controlled Release (Impact Factor: 7.71). 04/2008; 126(3):187-204. DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2007.12.017
Source: PubMed


Nanotechnology has shown tremendous promise in target-specific delivery of drugs and genes in the body. Although passive and active targeted-drug delivery has addressed a number of important issues, additional properties that can be included in nanocarrier systems to enhance the bioavailability of drugs at the disease site, and especially upon cellular internalization, are very important. A nanocarrier system incorporated with stimuli-responsive property (e.g., pH, temperature, or redox potential), for instance, would be amenable to address some of the systemic and intracellular delivery barriers. In this review, we discuss the role of stimuli-responsive nanocarrier systems for drug and gene delivery. The advancement in material science has led to design of a variety of materials, which are used for development of nanocarrier systems that can respond to biological stimuli. Temperature, pH, and hypoxia are examples of "triggers" at the diseased site that could be exploited with stimuli-responsive nanocarriers. With greater understanding of the difference between normal and pathological tissues and cells and parallel developments in material design, there is a highly promising role of stimuli-responsive nanocarriers for drug and gene delivery in the future.

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