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Pure Appl. Chem., 2011, Vol. 83, No. 9, pp. 1685-1698

Published online 2011-06-24

Tumor-targeting drug delivery of chemotherapeutic agents

Iwao Ojima

Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, Stony Brook University: State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3400, USA

Abstract: Despite the significant progress in the development of cancer detection, prevention, surgery, and therapy, there is still no common cure for this disease. In addition, the long-standing problem of chemotherapy is the lack of tumor-specific treatments. Traditional chemotherapy relies on the premise that rapidly proliferating cancer cells are more likely to be killed by a cytotoxic agent. In reality, however, cytotoxic agents have very little or no specificity, which leads to systemic toxicity, causing undesirable severe side effects. Therefore, various “molecularly targeted cancer therapies” have been developed for use in specific cancers, including tumor-targeting drug delivery systems (TTDDS). In general, a TTDDS consists of a tumor recognition moiety and a cytotoxic “warhead” connected through a “smart” linker to form a conjugate. When a multi-functionalized nanomaterial is used as the vehicle, a “Trojan horse” approach becomes possible for mass delivery of cytotoxic warheads to maximize the efficacy. This account presents the progress in the molecular approaches to the design and development of novel drug delivery systems for tumor-targeting chemotherapy in our laboratory.