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Since the beginning of pharmaceutical research, drug delivery methods have been an integral part of it. Polymeric micelles (PMs) have emerged as multifunctional nanoparticles in the current technological era of nanocarriers, and they have shown promise in a range of scientific fields. They can alter the release profile of integrated pharmacological substances and concentrate them in the target zone due to their improved permeability and retention, making them more suitable for poorly soluble medicines. With their ability to deliver poorly soluble chemotherapeutic drugs, PMs have garnered considerable interest in cancer. As a result of their remarkable biocompatibility, improved permeability, and minimal toxicity to healthy cells, while also their capacity to solubilize a wide range of drugs in their micellar core, PMs are expected to be a successful treatment option for cancer therapy in the future. Their nano-size enables them to accumulate in the tumor microenvironment (TME) via the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. In this review, our major aim is to focus primarily on the stellar applications of PMs in the field of cancer therapeutics along with its mechanism of action and its latest advancements in drug and gene delivery (DNA/siRNA) for cancer, using various therapeutic strategies such as crossing blood-brain barrier, gene therapy, photothermal therapy (PTT), and immunotherapy. Furthermore, PMs can be employed as "smart drug carriers," allowing them to target specific cancer sites using a variety of stimuli (endogenous and exogenous), which improve the specificity and efficacy of micelle-based targeted drug delivery. All the many types of stimulants, as well as how the complex of PM and various anticancer drugs react to it, and their pharmacodynamics are also reviewed here. In conclusion, commercializing engineered micelle nanoparticles (MNPs) for application in therapy and imaging can be considered as a potential approach to improve the therapeutic index of anticancer drugs. Furthermore, PM has stimulated intense interest in research and clinical practice, and in light of this, we have also highlighted a few PMs that have previously been approved for therapeutic use, while the majority are still being studied in clinical trials for various cancer therapies. © 2022. Controlled Release Society.


Sharath Kumar Hari, Ankita Gauba, Neeraj Shrivastava, Ravi Mani Tripathi, Sudhir Kumar Jain, Akhilesh Kumar Pandey. Polymeric micelles and cancer therapy: an ingenious multimodal tumor-targeted drug delivery system. Drug delivery and translational research. 2023 Jan;13(1):135-163

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PMID: 35727533

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