During the last decade, intracellular drug delivery has become an emerging area of research in the medical and pharmaceutical field. Many therapeutic agents such as drugs and DNA/oligonucleotides can be delivered not just to the cell but also to a particular compartment of that cell to achieve better activity e.g. proapoptotic drugs to the mitochondria, antibiotics and enzymes to the lysosomes and various anticancer drugs and gene to the nucleus. The lipidic nature of biological membrans is the major obstacle to the intracellular delivery of macromolecular and ionic drugs. Additionally, after endocytosis, the lysosome, the major degradation compartment, needs to be avoided for better activity. To avoid these problems, various carriers have been investigated for efficient intracellular delivery, either by direct entry to cytoplasm or by escaping the endosomal compartment. These include cell penetrating peptides, and carrier systems such as liposomes, cationic lipids and polymers, polymeric nanoparticles, etc. Various properties of these carriers, including size, surface charge, composition and the presence of cell specific ligands, alter their efficacy and specificity towards particular cells. This review summarizes various aspects of targeted intracellular delivery of therapeutics including pathways, mechanisms and approaches. Various carrier constructs having potential for targeted intracellular delivery are also been discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmaceutical Science