Design of nanocarriers for nanoscale drug delivery to enhance cancer treatment using hybrid polymer and lipid building blocks
Polymer–lipid hybrid nanoparticles (PLN) are an emerging nanocarrier platform made from building blocks of polymers and lipids. PLN integrate the advantages of biomimetic lipid-based nanoparticles (i.e. solid lipid nanoparticles and liposomes) and biocompatible polymeric nanoparticles. PLN are constructed from diverse polymers and lipids and their numerous combinations, which imparts PLN with great versatility for delivering drugs of various properties to their nanoscale targets. PLN can be classified into two types based on their hybrid nanoscopic structure and assembly methods: Type-I monolithic matrix and Type-II core–shell systems. This article reviews the history of PLN development, types of PLN, lipid and polymer candidates, fabrication methods, and unique properties of PLN. The applications of PLN in delivery of therapeutic or imaging agents alone or in combination for cancer treatment are summarized and illustrated with examples. Important considerations for the rational design of PLN for advanced nanoscale drug delivery are discussed, including selection of excipients, synthesis processes governing formulation parameters, optimization of nanoparticle properties, improvement of particle surface functionality to overcome macroscopic, microscopic and cellular biological barriers. Future directions and potential clinical translation of PLN are also suggested.