Despite being widely used for cancer treatment, conventional chemotherapeutic
regimens based on anti-cancer drugs possess significant drawbacks in discriminating between
normal and cancer cells, leading to detrimental effects on healthy tissues. The development
of nano-formulations encapsulating the chemotherapy drugs is highly expected
to improve the anti-cancer activities with favorable pharmacokinetic profile and consequentially
minimized side-effects. Several organic and inorganic nanoparticles have received
tremendous attention as carriers of various anticancer drugs in pre-clinical and
clinical settings. In this review, we discuss on the progress of formulating and investigating
various nano-formulationsin treating different cancers, with an emphasis on in vivo
studies utilizing the nanoparticles for carrying small molecular weight anti-cancer drugs
and focusing on the biocompatibility, targeting capability, cellular uptake, and the tumor
regression efficacy of those nano-formulations.
Keywords: Cancer, multi-functional nanoparticle, anti-cancer drug, active targeting, passive targeting,
EPR effect, controlled release.
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