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Tumor-targeting delivery of herb-based drugs with cell-penetrating/tumor-targeting peptide-modified nanocarriers

Authors Kebebe D, Liu Y, Wu Y, Vilakhamxay M, Liu Z, Li J

Received 9 November 2017

Accepted for publication 24 January 2018

Published 9 March 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 1425—1442


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun

Dereje Kebebe,1–4 Yuanyuan Liu,1–3 Yumei Wu,1–3 Maikhone Vilakhamxay,1–3 Zhidong Liu,1–3 Jiawei Li1–3

1Tianjin State Key Laboratory of Modern Chinese Medicine, Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin, China; 2Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin, China; 3Engineering Research Center of Modern Chinese Medicine Discovery and Preparation Technique, Ministry of Education, Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin, China; 4School of Pharmacy, Institute of Health Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

Abstract: Cancer has become one of the leading causes of mortality globally. The major challenges of conventional cancer therapy are the failure of most chemotherapeutic agents to accumulate selectively in tumor cells and their severe systemic side effects. In the past three decades, a number of drug delivery approaches have been discovered to overwhelm the obstacles. Among these, nanocarriers have gained much attention for their excellent and efficient drug delivery systems to improve specific tissue/organ/cell targeting. In order to enhance targeting efficiency further and reduce limitations of nanocarriers, nanoparticle surfaces are functionalized with different ligands. Several kinds of ligand-modified nanomedicines have been reported. Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are promising ligands, attracting the attention of researchers due to their efficiency to transport bioactive molecules intracellularly. However, their lack of specificity and in vivo degradation led to the development of newer types of CPP. Currently, activable CPP and tumor-targeting peptide (TTP)-modified nanocarriers have shown dramatically superior cellular specific uptake, cytotoxicity, and tumor growth inhibition. In this review, we discuss recent advances in tumor-targeting strategies using CPPs and their limitations in tumor delivery systems. Special emphasis is given to activable CPPs and TTPs. Finally, we address the application of CPPs and/or TTPs in the delivery of plant-derived chemotherapeutic agents.

Keywords: cancer, nanocarriers, cell-penetrating peptide, targeting drug delivery, herb-based drug, tumor targeting

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