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Mol Membr Biol. 2010 Oct;27(7):364-81. doi: 10.3109/09687688.2010.507788. Epub 2010 Oct 13.

Light-sensitive lipid-based nanoparticles for drug delivery: design principles and future considerations for biological applications.

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Center for Cancer Research Nanobiology Program, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, Maryland 21702-1201, USA.


Radiation-based therapies aided by nanoparticles have been developed for decades, and can be primarily categorized into two main platforms. First, delivery of payload of photo-reactive drugs (photosensitizers) using the conventional nanoparticles, and second, design and development of photo-triggerable nanoparticles (primarily liposomes) to attain light-assisted on-demand drug delivery. The main focus of this review is to provide an update of the history, current status and future applications of photo-triggerable lipid-based nanoparticles (light-sensitive liposomes). We will begin with a brief overview on the applications of liposomes for delivery of photosensitizers, including the choice of photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy, as well as the currently available light sources (lasers) used for these applications. The main segment of this review will encompass the details of strategies used to develop photo-triggerable liposomes for their drug delivery function. The principles underlying the assembly of photoreactive lipids into nanoparticles (liposomes) and photo-triggering mechanisms will be presented. We will also discuss factors that limit the applications of these liposomes for in vivo triggered drug delivery and emerging concepts that may lead to the biologically viable photo-activation strategies. We will conclude with our view point on the future perspectives of light-sensitive liposomes in the clinic.

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