Leukemia is a type of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell malignancy characterized by the accumulation of immature cells in the blood and bone marrow. Treatment strategies mainly rely on the administration of chemotherapeutic agents, which, unfortunately, are known for their high toxicity and side effects. The concept of targeted therapy as magic bullet was introduced by Paul Erlich about 100 years ago, to inspire new therapies able to tackle the disadvantages of chemotherapeutic agents. Currently, nanoparticles are considered viable options in the treatment of different types of cancer, including leukemia. The main advantages associated with the use of these nanocarriers summarized as follows: i) they may be designed to target leukemic cells selectively; ii) they invariably enhance bioavailability and blood circulation half-life; iii) their mode of action is expected to reduce side effects. FDA approval of many nanocarriers for treatment of relapsed or refractory leukemia and the desired results extend their application in clinics. In the present review, different types of nanocarriers, their capability in targeting leukemic cells, and the latest preclinical and clinical data are discussed.
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