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Table 1.

Types of nanocarriers for drug delivery

SystemStructureCharacteristicsExamples of compoundsRef.
Polymeric nanoparticles (polymer-drug conjugates) Drugs are conjugated to the side chain of a linear polymer with a linker (cleavable bond) (a) Water-soluble, nontoxic, biodegradable Albumin-Taxol (Abraxane) (7) 
  (b) Surface modification (pegylation) PGA-Taxol (Xyotax) (11) 
  (c) Selective accumulation and retention in tumor tissue (EPR effect) PGA-Camptothecin (CT-2106) (12) 
  (d) Specific targeting of cancer cells while sparing normal cells—receptor-mediated targeting with a ligand HPMA-DOX (PK1) (14) 
   HPMA-DOX-galactosamine (PK2) (58) 
Polymeric micelles Amphiphilic block copolymers assemble and form a micelle with a hydrophobic core and hydrophilic shell (a) Suitable carrier for water-insoluble drug PEG-pluronic-DOX (16) 
  (b) Biocompatible, self-assembling, biodegradable PEG-PAA-DOX (NK911) (17) 
  (c) Ease of functional modification PEG-PLA-Taxol (Genexol-PM) (18) 
  (d) Targeting potential   
Dendrimers Radially emerging hyperbranched synthetic polymer with regular pattern and repeated units (a) Biodistribution and PK can be tuned PAMAM-MTX (64) 
  (b) High structural and chemical homogeneity PAMAM-platinate (21) 
  (c) Ease of functionalization, high ligand density   
  (d) Controlled degradation   
  (e) Multifunctionality   
Liposomes Self-assembling closed colloidal structures composed of lipid bilayers (a) Amphiphilic, biocompatible Pegylated liposomal DOX (Doxil) (22) 
  (b) Ease of modification Non-pegylated liposomal DOX (Myocet) (23) 
  (c) Targeting potential Liposomal daunorubicin (DaunoXome) (24) 
Viral nanoparticles Protein cages, which are multivalent, self-assembled structures (a) Surface modification by mutagenesis or bioconjugation—multivalency HSP-DOX (29, 30) 
  (b) Specific tumor targeting, multifunctionality CPMV-DOX (27) 
  (c) Defined geometry and remarkable uniformity   
  (d) Biological compatibility and inert nature   
Carbon nanotubes Carbon cylinders composed of benzene ring (a) Water-soluble and biocompatible through chemical modification (organic functionalization) CNT-MTX (34) 
  (b) Multifunctionality CNT-amphotericin B (33) 
SystemStructureCharacteristicsExamples of compoundsRef.
Polymeric nanoparticles (polymer-drug conjugates) Drugs are conjugated to the side chain of a linear polymer with a linker (cleavable bond) (a) Water-soluble, nontoxic, biodegradable Albumin-Taxol (Abraxane) (7) 
  (b) Surface modification (pegylation) PGA-Taxol (Xyotax) (11) 
  (c) Selective accumulation and retention in tumor tissue (EPR effect) PGA-Camptothecin (CT-2106) (12) 
  (d) Specific targeting of cancer cells while sparing normal cells—receptor-mediated targeting with a ligand HPMA-DOX (PK1) (14) 
   HPMA-DOX-galactosamine (PK2) (58) 
Polymeric micelles Amphiphilic block copolymers assemble and form a micelle with a hydrophobic core and hydrophilic shell (a) Suitable carrier for water-insoluble drug PEG-pluronic-DOX (16) 
  (b) Biocompatible, self-assembling, biodegradable PEG-PAA-DOX (NK911) (17) 
  (c) Ease of functional modification PEG-PLA-Taxol (Genexol-PM) (18) 
  (d) Targeting potential   
Dendrimers Radially emerging hyperbranched synthetic polymer with regular pattern and repeated units (a) Biodistribution and PK can be tuned PAMAM-MTX (64) 
  (b) High structural and chemical homogeneity PAMAM-platinate (21) 
  (c) Ease of functionalization, high ligand density   
  (d) Controlled degradation   
  (e) Multifunctionality   
Liposomes Self-assembling closed colloidal structures composed of lipid bilayers (a) Amphiphilic, biocompatible Pegylated liposomal DOX (Doxil) (22) 
  (b) Ease of modification Non-pegylated liposomal DOX (Myocet) (23) 
  (c) Targeting potential Liposomal daunorubicin (DaunoXome) (24) 
Viral nanoparticles Protein cages, which are multivalent, self-assembled structures (a) Surface modification by mutagenesis or bioconjugation—multivalency HSP-DOX (29, 30) 
  (b) Specific tumor targeting, multifunctionality CPMV-DOX (27) 
  (c) Defined geometry and remarkable uniformity   
  (d) Biological compatibility and inert nature   
Carbon nanotubes Carbon cylinders composed of benzene ring (a) Water-soluble and biocompatible through chemical modification (organic functionalization) CNT-MTX (34) 
  (b) Multifunctionality CNT-amphotericin B (33) 

Abbreviations: PGA, poly-(l-glutamate); HPMA, N-(2-hydroxypropyl)-methacrylamide copolymer; PEG, polyethylene glycol; PAA, poly-(l-aspartate); PLA, poly-(l-lactide); PAMAM, poly(amidoamine); DOX, doxorubicin; MTX, methotrexate; PK, pharmacokinetics; EPR, enhanced permeability and retention; CNT, carbon nanotube; HSP, heat shock protein; CPMV, cowpea mosaic virus.

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