Stimulus-responsive Liposomes As Smart Nanoplatforms For Drug Delivery Applications
Liposomes are known to be promising nanoparticles (NPs) for drug delivery applications. Among the different types of self-assembled NPs, liposomes stand out for their non-toxic nature and their possession of dual hydrophilic-hydrophobic domains. The advantages of liposomes include the ability to solubilize hydrophobic drugs, the ability to incorporate different hydrophilic and lipophilic drugs at the same time, lessening the exposure of host organs to potentially toxic drugs and allowing modification of the surface by a variety of different chemical groups. This modification of the surface, or of the individual constituents, may be used to achieve two important goals. First, ligands for active targeting can be attached that are recognized by cognate receptors overexpressed on the target cells of tissues. Second, modification can be used to impart a stimulus-responsive or “smart” character to the liposomes, whereby the cargo is released on demand only when certain internal stimuli (pH, reducing agents, specific enzymes) or external stimuli [light, magnetic field, or ultrasound (US)] are present. Here, we review the field of smart liposomes for drug delivery applications.