Design of Smart Size‐, Surface‐, and Shape‐Switching Nanoparticles to Improve Therapeutic Efficacy
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Multiple biological barriers must be considered in the design of nanomedicines, including prolonged blood circulation, efficient accumulation at the target site, effective penetration into the target tissue, selective uptake of the nanoparticles into target cells, and successful endosomal escape. However, different particle sizes, surface chemistries, and sometimes shapes are required to achieve the desired transport properties at each step of the delivery process. In response, this review highlights recent developments in the design of switchable nanoparticles whose size, surface chemistry, shape, or a combination thereof can be altered as a function of time, a disease-specific microenvironment, and/or via an externally applied stimulus to enable improved optimization of nanoparticle properties in each step of the delivery process. The practical use of such nanoparticles in chemotherapy, bioimaging, photothermal therapy, and other applications is also discussed.
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