From the last couple of decades, lyotropic liquid crystals have garnered enormous attentions in medical and pharmaceutical sciences. Non-toxic, chemically stable, and biocompatible properties of these liquid crystal systems are contributing to their applications for drug delivery. Among a large variety of liquid crystal phases, inverse bicontinuous cubic and inverse hexagonal mesophases have been extensively investigated for their ability to encapsulate and controlled release of bioactive molecules of various sizes and polarity. The concept of changing the drug release rate in situ by simply changing the mesophase structure is much more fascinating. The encapsulation of bioactive compounds in mesophase systems of desirable features in sub-micron sized particles such as hexosomes and cubosomes, at ambient and high temperature is bringing innovation in the development of new drug applications. This review article outlines unique structural features of cubosomes and hexosomes, their methods of productions, factors affecting their formations and their potential utilization as smart nano-carriers for biopharmaceuticals in drug delivery applications.Graphical abstract
Model representation of inverse hexagonal (HII) and inverse bicontinuous cubic (QIID) liquid crystalline phases.