Nanoformulations for combination or cascade anticancer therapy

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Nanoparticle drug formulations have been extensively investigated, developed, and in some cases, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Synergistic combinations of drugs having distinct tumor-inhibiting mechanisms and non-overlapping toxicity can circumvent the issue of treatment resistance and may be essential for effective anti-cancer therapy. At the same time, co-delivery of a combined regimen by a single nanocarrier presents a challenge due to differences in solubility, molecular weight, functional groups and encapsulation conditions between the two drugs. This review discusses cellular and microenvironment mechanisms behind treatment resistance and nanotechnology-based solutions for effective anti-cancer therapy. Co-loading or cascade delivery of multiple drugs using of polymeric nanoparticles, polymer-drug conjugates and lipid nanoparticles will be discussed along with lipid-coated drug nanoparticles developed by our lab and perspectives on combination therapy.

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