Red and NIR light-responsive polymeric nanocarriers capable of on-demand drug delivery have gained tremendous attention for their great potential in cancer therapy. Various strategies have been applied to fabricate such nanocarriers, and they have demonstrated significant therapeutic efficacy and minimal toxicity to normal tissues. Here, we will review the current developments in various red and NIR light-responsive polymeric nanocarriers with respect to their use in on-demand drug delivery, including facilitation of drug internalization and boosting of drug release at targeted sites. We summarize their components and design strategies, highlight the mechanisms by which the photoactivatable variations enhance drug uptake and drug release. We attempt to provide new insights into the fabrication of red and NIR light-responsive polymeric nanocarriers for on-demand drug delivery.
Keywords: polymeric nanocarriers, red light, NIR light, drug delivery, drug release, photothermal therapy, photodynamic therapy
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