Research Topic

Polymer-Based Drug Delivery Systems for Anti-Cancer Drugs

About this Research Topic

A great deal of attention has been directed towards overcoming the problems related to conventional chemotherapy, by using new delivery systems for anti-cancer drugs. Using nano-sized polymeric carriers for the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents has many benefits including improved circulation time, more desirable bioavailability, and allows for the use of lower drug concentration - resulting in reduced side effects. High drug entrapment, site-specific release, and improved tumor accumulation are the most important characteristics of successful anti-cancer drug-loaded nano-carriers. Biocompatible and biodegradable natural or synthetic polymers are widely used in pharmaceutical technology. Many types of nanocarriers have been broadly explored to date. Polymersomes, nanomicelles, nanoparticles, phytosomes, colloidal nanogels, dendrimers, nano-capsules, and liposomes are widely investigated, being utilized for drug and gene delivery strategies.

Conventional therapies, which lack tissue specificity and result in a higher dose of pharmacological agent within the body, result in systemic toxicities. Current drugs used in the treatment of cancers and other diseases are also becoming ineffective as a result of multi-drug resistance (MDR). To overcome the challenges associated with conventional therapy, as well as to improve the efficacy of these drugs, a selective drug delivery system is essential. Targeted delivery of cytotoxic agents to tumors is believed to improve both their anti-tumor effect and safety. Various polymers, such as the naturally-occurring polymers chitosan, arginine, dextrin, polysaccharides, poly (glycolic acid), poly (lactic acid), and hyaluronic acid, in addition to different proteins, can be suitable vehicles due to their excellent biodegradability and biocompatibility. Furthermore, synthetic polymers such as poly (2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate), poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide)s, poly(ethylenimine)s, and bioactive dendrimers are suitable nanovectors for polymeric drug delivery.

Anti-cancer therapeutic agents can be physically loaded into the nanocargos’ matrix or covalently linked to the polymer chain as polymer-drug conjugates. Moreover, stimuli-responsive polymeric drug conjugates can be tailored to selectively deliver the drugs in a controlled manner.

This Research Topic aims to address themes including, but not limited to:

 • Tailoring drug delivery systems for targeting epigenetics
 • Polymer-based therapeutics targeting epigenetics
 • Nano-biomimetic drug delivery systems for gene therapy
 • Polymeric drug delivery systems with sustained and controlled release, and targeted delivery
 • Bio-responsive linkers in polymer-drug conjugates
 • Recent advances in bioconjugation techniques for targeted, smart-responsive delivery systems
 • Computer-aided design of suitable drug delivery systems
 • Advances in stimuli-responsive polymeric systems


Keywords: Cancer therapy, Drug delivery, Targeted delivery, Conjugation, Natural polymers, Synthetic polymers


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

A great deal of attention has been directed towards overcoming the problems related to conventional chemotherapy, by using new delivery systems for anti-cancer drugs. Using nano-sized polymeric carriers for the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents has many benefits including improved circulation time, more desirable bioavailability, and allows for the use of lower drug concentration - resulting in reduced side effects. High drug entrapment, site-specific release, and improved tumor accumulation are the most important characteristics of successful anti-cancer drug-loaded nano-carriers. Biocompatible and biodegradable natural or synthetic polymers are widely used in pharmaceutical technology. Many types of nanocarriers have been broadly explored to date. Polymersomes, nanomicelles, nanoparticles, phytosomes, colloidal nanogels, dendrimers, nano-capsules, and liposomes are widely investigated, being utilized for drug and gene delivery strategies.

Conventional therapies, which lack tissue specificity and result in a higher dose of pharmacological agent within the body, result in systemic toxicities. Current drugs used in the treatment of cancers and other diseases are also becoming ineffective as a result of multi-drug resistance (MDR). To overcome the challenges associated with conventional therapy, as well as to improve the efficacy of these drugs, a selective drug delivery system is essential. Targeted delivery of cytotoxic agents to tumors is believed to improve both their anti-tumor effect and safety. Various polymers, such as the naturally-occurring polymers chitosan, arginine, dextrin, polysaccharides, poly (glycolic acid), poly (lactic acid), and hyaluronic acid, in addition to different proteins, can be suitable vehicles due to their excellent biodegradability and biocompatibility. Furthermore, synthetic polymers such as poly (2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate), poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide)s, poly(ethylenimine)s, and bioactive dendrimers are suitable nanovectors for polymeric drug delivery.

Anti-cancer therapeutic agents can be physically loaded into the nanocargos’ matrix or covalently linked to the polymer chain as polymer-drug conjugates. Moreover, stimuli-responsive polymeric drug conjugates can be tailored to selectively deliver the drugs in a controlled manner.

This Research Topic aims to address themes including, but not limited to:

 • Tailoring drug delivery systems for targeting epigenetics
 • Polymer-based therapeutics targeting epigenetics
 • Nano-biomimetic drug delivery systems for gene therapy
 • Polymeric drug delivery systems with sustained and controlled release, and targeted delivery
 • Bio-responsive linkers in polymer-drug conjugates
 • Recent advances in bioconjugation techniques for targeted, smart-responsive delivery systems
 • Computer-aided design of suitable drug delivery systems
 • Advances in stimuli-responsive polymeric systems


Keywords: Cancer therapy, Drug delivery, Targeted delivery, Conjugation, Natural polymers, Synthetic polymers


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

28 May 2021 Abstract
31 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

28 May 2021 Abstract
31 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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