Targeted drug delivery is a new multidisciplinary field that aims to develop innovative nanomaterials,
tools and devices to deploy a therapeutic agent to specific parts of the body where there is solely diseased tissue,
thereby avoiding interaction with healthy tissue. Advanced drug-delivery systems attempt to control the site of
action and release rate and act by means of either a physiological or a chemical trigger. In this sense, stimuliresponsive
biomaterials are of special interest for application as components of drug-delivery devices.
This review discusses the use of elastin-like recombinamers (ELR) in drug-delivery systems. These biopolymers
possess special properties that encompass biodegradability, bioactivity and stimuli-responsiveness. Their tailormade
design using recombinant DNA technologies allows an absolute control of their amino acid sequence and
design of the most appropriate macromolecule for each application. Firstly, devices based on monomeric elastinlike
recombinamers which have been chemically modified to attach functionalities that enable us to follow or direct
their distribution or anticancer drugs in an attempt to improve drug-conjugate uptake are described. Secondly,
ELRs that form part of nanoparticles as drug carriers will be studied in their different versions, including
nanoparticles chemically reinforced by interchain cross-linking, nanoparticles formed by self-assembly of chemically
modified ELRs to achieve amphiphilic properties and multifunctional composites made up of nanoparticles
coated with ELRs. Finally, recent advances in the area of 3D platforms for drug delivery, comprising interconnected
hydrogels and ELR-based coacervates in the form of depots, will be reviewed.