Nanocages (NCs) have emerged as a new class of drug-carriers, with a wide range of possibilities in multi-modality medical treatments and theranostics. Nanocages can overcome such limitations as high toxicity caused by anti-cancer chemotherapy or by the nanocarrier itself, due to their unique characteristics. These properties consist of: (1) a high loading-capacity (spacious interior); (2) a porous structure (analogous to openings between the bars of the cage); (3) enabling smart release (a key to unlock the cage); and (4) a low likelihood of unfavorable immune responses (the outside of the cage is safe). In this review, we cover different classes of NC structures such as virus-like particles (VLPs), protein NCs, DNA NCs, supramolecular nanosystems, hybrid metal-organic NCs, gold NCs, carbon-based NCs and silica NCs. Moreover, NC-assisted drug delivery including modification methods, drug immobilization, active targeting, and stimulus-responsive release mechanisms are discussed, highlighting the advantages, disadvantages and challenges. Finally, translation of NCs into clinical applications, and an up-to-date assessment of the nanotoxicology considerations of NCs are presented.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)