Significant progress has been made recently in the area of immunoconjugated drugs and drug delivery systems (DDS). The immuno-modification of either the drug or DDS has proven to be a very promising approach that has significantly improved the targeted accumulation in pathological sites while decreasing its undesirable side effects in healthy tissues. The arrangement for both prolonged life in the circulation and specific target recognition represents another potent strategy in the development of immuno-targeted systems. The longevity of immuno-targeted DDS such as immunoliposomes and immunomicelles improves their targetability even in the presence of the additional passive accumulation in areas with a compromised vasculature. The added use of the immuno-targeted systems takes advantage of the specific microenvironment of pathological sites including lowered pH, increased temperature, and variation in the enzymatic activity. “Smart” stimulus-responsive systems combine different valuable functionalities including PEG-protection, targeting antibody, cell-penetration, and stimulus-sensitive functions.
In this review we examined the evolution, current status and future directions in the area of therapeutical immunoconjugates and long-circulating immuno-targeted DDS.