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Hydrogel-Based Drug Delivery Nanosystems for the Treatment of Brain Tumors

Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, Coimbra 3000-354, Portugal
Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology (CNC), University of Coimbra, Coimbra 3004-504, Portugal
Coimbra Chemistry Centre, Department of Chemistry, University of Coimbra, Coimbra 3004-535, Portugal
LAQV REQUIMTE, Group of Pharmaceutical Technology, Porto 4051-401, Portugal
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 June 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Polymer Additives in Hydrogel Functionalization)
PDF [3634 KB, uploaded 19 July 2018]


Chemotherapy is commonly associated with limited effectiveness and unwanted side effects in normal cells and tissues, due to the lack of specificity of therapeutic agents to cancer cells when systemically administered. In brain tumors, the existence of both physiological barriers that protect tumor cells and complex resistance mechanisms to anticancer drugs are additional obstacles that hamper a successful course of chemotherapy, thus resulting in high treatment failure rates. Several potential surrogate therapies have been developed so far. In this context, hydrogel-based systems incorporating nanostructured drug delivery systems (DDS) and hydrogel nanoparticles, also denoted nanogels, have arisen as a more effective and safer strategy than conventional chemotherapeutic regimens. The former, as a local delivery approach, have the ability to confine the release of anticancer drugs near tumor cells over a long period of time, without compromising healthy cells and tissues. Yet, the latter may be systemically administered and provide both loading and targeting properties in their own framework, thus identifying and efficiently killing tumor cells. Overall, this review focuses on the application of hydrogel matrices containing nanostructured DDS and hydrogel nanoparticles as potential and promising strategies for the treatment and diagnosis of glioblastoma and other types of brain cancer. Some aspects pertaining to computational studies are finally addressed. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrogel; nanostructured drug delivery system; hydrogel nanoparticles; glioblastoma; drug delivery; local treatment hydrogel; nanostructured drug delivery system; hydrogel nanoparticles; glioblastoma; drug delivery; local treatment

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Basso, J.; Miranda, A.; Nunes, S.; Cova, T.; Sousa, J.; Vitorino, C.; Pais, A. Hydrogel-Based Drug Delivery Nanosystems for the Treatment of Brain Tumors. Gels 2018, 4, 62.

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