Surface functionalized dendrimers as controlled-release delivery nanosystems for tumor targeting

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Dendrimers are nano-sized and three-dimensional macromolecules with well-defined globular architecture and are widely used in various aspects such as drug and gene delivery owing to multivalent and host-guest entrapment properties. However, dendrimers like other nanomaterials have some disadvantages for example rapid clearance by reticuloendothelial system, toxicity due to interaction of amine terminated group with cell membrane, low transfection efficiency and lack of controlled release behavior, which reduce their therapeutic efficiency. To solve these problems, surface functionalization of dendrimers can be carried out. Surface functionalization not only mitigates this obstacle but also renders excessive specificity to dendrimer to improve efficiency of cancer therapy. Specific properties in cancer cell compared to normal cells such as overexpression of various receptors and difference in biological condition like pH, temperature and redox of tumor environment can be an appropriate strategy to increase site-specific targeting efficiency. Therefore, in this article we focus on numerous functionalization strategies, which are used in the modification of dendrimers through attachment of lipid, amino acid, protein/peptide, aptamer, vitamin, antibody. Moreover, increased biocompatibility, site-specific delivery based on various ligands, enhanced transfection efficiency, sustained and controlled release behavior based on stimuli responsiveness are benefits of functionalized dendrimer which we discuss in this review. Overall, these functionalized dendrimers can open a new horizon in the field of targeted drug and gene delivery.

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