Colloidal microgels have recently received attention as environmentally responsive systems and now are increasingly used in applications as carriers for therapeutic drugs and diagnostic agents. Synthetic microgels consist of a crosslinked polymer network that provides a depot for loaded drugs, protection against environmental hazards and template for post-synthetic modification or vectorization of the drug carriers. The aim of this manuscript is to review recent attempts to develop new microgel formulations for oral drug delivery, to design metal-containing microgels for diagnostic and therapeutic applications, and to advance approaches including the systemic administration of microgels. Novel nanogel drug delivery systems developed in the authors laboratory are discussed in details including aspects of their synthesis, vectorization and recent applications for encapsulation of low molecular weight drugs or formulation of biological macromolecules. The findings reviewed here are encouraging for further development of the nanogels as intelligent drug carriers with such features as targeted delivery and triggered drug release.