Therapeutic targeting strategies using endogenous cells and proteins
Targeted drug delivery has become extremely important in enhancing efficacy and reducing the toxicity of therapeutics in the treatment of various disease conditions. Current approaches include passive targeting, which relies on naturally occurring differences between healthy and diseased tissues, and active targeting, which utilizes various ligands that can recognize targets expressed preferentially at the diseased site. Clinical translation of these mechanisms faces many challenges including the immunogenic and toxic effects of these non-natural systems. Thus, use of endogenous targeting systems is increasingly gaining momentum. This review is focused on strategies for employing endogenous moieties, which could serve as safe and efficient carriers for targeted drug delivery. The first part of the review involves cells and cellular components as endogenous carriers for therapeutics in multiple disease states, while the second part discusses the use of endogenous plasma components as endogenous carriers. Further understanding of the biological tropism with cells and proteins and the newer generation of delivery strategies that exploits these endogenous approaches promises to provide better solutions for site-specific delivery and could further facilitate clinical translations.