Dual and multi-stimuli responsive polymeric nanoparticles for programmed site-specific drug delivery
In the past decades, polymeric nanoparticles have emerged as a most promising and viable technology platform for targeted and controlled drug delivery. As vehicles, ideal nanoparticles are obliged to possess high drug loading levels, deliver drug to the specific pathological site and/or target cells without drug leakage on the way, while rapidly unload drug at the site of action. To this end, various "intelligent" polymeric nanoparticles that release drugs in response to an internal or external stimulus such as pH, redox, temperature, magnetic and light have been actively pursued. These stimuli-responsive nanoparticles have demonstrated, though to varying degrees, improved in vitro and/or in vivo drug release profiles. In an effort to further improve drug release performances, novel dual and multi-stimuli responsive polymeric nanoparticles that respond to a combination of two or more signals such as pH/temperature, pH/redox, pH/magnetic field, temperature/reduction, double pH, pH and diols, temperature/magnetic field, temperature/enzyme, temperature/pH/redox, temperature/pH/magnetic, pH/redox/magnetic, temperature/redox/guest molecules, and temperature/pH/guest molecules have recently been developed. Notably, these combined responses take place either simultaneously at the pathological site or in a sequential manner from nanopartide preparation, nanopartide transporting pathways, to cellular compartments. These dual and multi-stimuli responsive polymeric nanoparticles have shown unprecedented control over drug delivery and release leading to superior in vitro and/or in vivo anti-cancer efficacy. With programmed site-specific drug delivery feature, dual and multi-stimuli responsive nanoparticulate drug formulations have tremendous potential for targeted cancer therapy. In this review paper, we highlight the recent exciting developments in dual and multi-stimuli responsive polymeric nanoparticles for precision drug delivery applications, with a particular focus on their design, drug release performance, and therapeutic benefits. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.