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Micelles As Delivery System for Cancer Treatment

Micelles are nanoparticles formed by the self-assembly of amphiphilic block copolymers in certain solvents above concentrations called critical micelle concentration (CMC). Micelles are used in different fields like food, cosmetics, medicine, etc. These nanosized delivery systems are under spotlight in the recent years with new achievements in terms of their in vivo stability, ability to protect entrapped drug, release kinetics, ease of cellular penetration and thereby increased therapeutic efficacy. Drug loaded micelles can be prepared by dialysis, oil-in-water method, solid dispersion, freezing, spray drying, etc. The aim of this review is to give an overview of the research on micelles (in vitro, in vivo and clinical) as delivery system for cancer treatment. Passive targeting is one route for accumulation of nanosized micellar drug formulations. Many research groups from both academia and industry focus on developing new strategies for improving the therapeutic efficacy of micellar systems (active targeting to the tumor site, designing multidrug delivery systems for overcoming multidrug resistance or micelles formed by prodrug conjugates, etc). There is only one micellar drug formulation in South Korea that has reached clinical practice. However, there are many untargeted anticancer drug loaded micellar formulations in clinical trials, which have potential for use in clinics. Many more products are expected to be on the market in the near future.