Cancer disease is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately
14 million new cases and around 8 million cancer-related deaths yearly. Estimates expect to increase these figures
over the next few years. Therefore, it is very important to develop more effective and targeted therapies. Polysaccharides
are widely used for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications due to their interesting properties, and can
be utilised in the production of nanovehicles for drug delivery, since they frequently extend the half-life and improve
the stability of chemotherapeutic agents in bloodstream allowing them to reach the tumour tissue. Moreover,
polysaccharide-based nanovehicles are generally expected to increase the therapeutic benefit by reducing the undesired
side effects and promoting a more efficient cellular uptake. Here, we highlight the application of various
polysaccharides as nanovehicles in cancer therapy, focusing mainly on in vivo applications and describing the main advantages of each
designed system in a critical way. The use of different polysaccharides interacting with metal nanoparticles to develop new nanovehicles
for cancer therapy will also be discussed.
Keywords: Cancer therapy, drug delivery, EPR effect, in vivo therapy, non-viral vectors.
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