Nanoparticles have been extensively studied as drug delivery systems. In this review, we focus on a relatively new type of nanoparticles - lipobeads - a liposome-hydrogel assembly as a novel drug delivery system. An appropriate assemblage of spherical hydrogel particles and liposomes combines the properties of both classes of materials and may find a variety of biomedical applications. The bi-compartmental structure of lipobeads is a natural configuration. Thus, the technology of their preparation can be a key step of designing more stable and effective vaccines. Biocompatibility and stability, ability to deliver a broad range of bioactive molecules, environmental responsiveness of both inner nanogel core and external lipid bilayer, and individual specificity of both compartments make the liposome-nanogel design a versatile drug delivery system relevant for all known drug administration routes and suitable for different diseases with possibility of efficient targeting to different organs. New findings on reversible and irreversible aggregation of lipobeads can lead to novel combined drug delivery systems regarding lipobeads as multipurpose containers. The research on hydrogelliposome submicrometer structures has just begun and fundamental studies on interactions between hydrogels and liposomes are in demand.
Keywords: Liposomes, nanogels, supramolecular assembly, lipobeads, drug delivery systems
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