Promising results have come from attempts to direct drugs, nucleic acids and diagnostic agents to tumours by using polymeric nanoparticles. Such carriers are versatile; their encapsulation capacity, drug release profile, and biological performance vary with their chemical makeup, morphology, and size. Polymeric nanoparticles may therefore be engineered for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes in accordance with the type, developmental stage and location of the cancer as well as the required route of administration. This article examines recent developments in design and engineering of polymeric nanoparticles and related platforms to include supramolecular systems such as nanocapsules and nanoparticlebased hydrogels, and assesses their potential diagnostic and therapeutic applications in experimental and clinical oncology.
Keywords: Nanospheres, Nanocapsules, Polymeric hydrogels, Drug solubilization, Macrophage, Tumour targeting, Multidrug resistance, Gene transfer and therapy
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