The innate abilities of cancer stem cells (CSCs), such as multi-drug resistance, drug efflux, quiescence
and ionizing radiation tolerance, protect them from most traditional chemotherapeutics. As a result, this small
subpopulation of persistent cells leads to more aggressive and chemoresistant cancers, causing tumour relapse and
metastasis. This subpopulation is differentiated from the bulk tumour population through a wide variety of surface
markers expressed on the cell surface. Recent developments in nanomedicine and targeting delivery methods
have given rise to new possibilities for specifically targeting these markers and preferentially eliminating CSCs.
Herein, we first summarize the range of surface markers identifying CSC populations in a variety of cancers;
then, we discuss recent attempts to actively target CSCs and their niches using liposomal, nanoparticle, carbon
nanotube and viral formulations.