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Bioimpacts. 2017;7(4):269-277. doi: 10.15171/bi.2017.32. Epub 2017 Nov 15.

Stimuli-responsive chitosan-based nanocarriers for cancer therapy.

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Research Center for Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, Biomedicine Institute, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran.
Department of Pharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.


Introduction: Stimuli-responsive nanocarriers offer unique advantages over the traditional drug delivery systems (DDSs) in terms of targeted drug delivery and on-demand release of cargo drug molecules. Of these, chitosan (CS)-based DDSs offer several advantages such as high compatibility with biological settings. Methods: In this study, we surveyed the literature in terms of the stimuli-responsive nanocarriers and discussed the most recent advancements in terms of CS-based nanosystems and their applications in cancer therapy and diagnosis. Results: These advanced DDSs are able to release the entrapped drugs in response to a specific endogenous stimulus (e.g., pH, glutathione concentration or certain enzymes) or exogenous stimulus (e.g., temperature, light, ultrasound, and magnetic field) at the desired time and target site. Dual-responsive nanocarriers by the combination of different stimuli have also been developed as efficient and improved DDSs. Among the stimuli-responsive nanocarriers, CS-based DDSs offer several advantages, including biocompatibility and biodegradability, antibacterial activity, ease of modification and functionalization, and non-immunogenicity. They are as one of the most ideal smart multifunction DDSs. Conclusion: The CS-based stimuli-responsive multifunctional nanosystems (NSs) offer unique potential for the targeted delivery of anticancer agents and provide great potential for on-demand and controlled-release of anticancer agents in response to diverse external/internal stimuli.


Cancer therapy; Chitosan; Nanomedicines; Smart drug delivery systems; Stimuli-responsive; Theranostics

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