Recent innovations in peptide based targeted drug delivery to cancer cells

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Targeted delivery of chemotherapeutics and diagnostic agents conjugated to carrier ligands has made significant progress in recent years, both in regards to the structural design of the conjugates and their biological effectiveness. The goal of targeting specific cell surface receptors through structural compatibility has encouraged the use of peptides as highly specific carriers as short peptides are usually non-antigenic, are structurally simple and synthetically diverse. Recent years have seen many developments in the field of peptide based drug conjugates (PDCs), particularly for cancer therapy, as their use aims to bypass off-target side-effects, reducing the morbidity common to conventional chemotherapy. However, no PDCs have as yet obtained regulatory approval. In this review, we describe the evolution of the peptide-based strategy for targeted delivery of chemotherapeutics and discuss recent innovations in the arena that should lead in the near future to their clinical application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Cancer imaging
  • Cancer therapy
  • Peptide-drug conjugates
  • Targeted drug delivery
  • Therapeutic carriers


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