Treating cancer requires multiple levels of investigation. Anticancer agents need to be developed through in vitro testing, in vivo animal experiments, followed by clinical studies. Most anticancer drugs are highly hydrophobic and are formulated with excipient materials that increase the water solubility of the drugs, such as co-solvents, liposomes, lipids, polymer micelles, and hydrotropic agents. Anticancer drugs cause serious side effects, so there is a great need to deliver the majority of drug to target cancer cells or solid tumors more specifically. This requires development of formulations for targeted delivery. Delivery systems in nanosize, commonly-called nanovehicles, have been frequently used for this purpose. Nanovehicles are also used as an imaging agent for theranosis and as a photothermal agent for thermal ablation of cancer cells. Nanovehicles are engineered to be responsive to environmental changes in temperature or pH for efficient release of a drug at a target site. While nanovehicles have increased the proportion of the drug delivered to target tumors, the absolute amount of the drug delivered is still very small. New polymeric delivery systems may be necessary to achieve the goal of targeted drug delivery. The testing of the various drugs and delivery systems in vivo is difficult, thus it is highly desirable to develop in vitro model systems that can simulate in vivo conditions in humans with the highest fidelity. Proper use of existing biomaterials and development of new biomaterials are necessary to achieve these goals.
- Poorly soluble drugs
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