, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 2569-2589,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 20 Aug 2010

Polymeric Micelles in Anticancer Therapy: Targeting, Imaging and Triggered Release


Micelles are colloidal particles with a size around 5–100 nm which are currently under investigation as carriers for hydrophobic drugs in anticancer therapy. Currently, five micellar formulations for anticancer therapy are under clinical evaluation, of which Genexol-PM has been FDA approved for use in patients with breast cancer. Micelle-based drug delivery, however, can be improved in different ways. Targeting ligands can be attached to the micelles which specifically recognize and bind to receptors overexpressed in tumor cells, and chelation or incorporation of imaging moieties enables tracking micelles in vivo for biodistribution studies. Moreover, pH-, thermo-, ultrasound-, or light-sensitive block copolymers allow for controlled micelle dissociation and triggered drug release. The combination of these approaches will further improve specificity and efficacy of micelle-based drug delivery and brings the development of a ‘magic bullet’ a major step forward.