2018 Volume 138 Issue 5 Pages 591-598
Nucleic acid therapy is expected to be a next generation medicine. We recently developed a multifunctional envelope-type nano device (MEND) for use as a novel delivery system. The modification of polyethylene glycol (PEG), i.e., PEGylation, is useful for achieving the delivery of MENDs to tumors via an enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. However, PEGylation strongly inhibits the cellular uptake and endosomal escape of MEND, which results in significant loss of action, and therefore lost effectiveness, of the cargo therapeutic. For successful nucleic acid delivery in cancer treatment, the crucial problem associated with the use of PEG, known as the “PEG dilemma”, must be solved. In this review, we describe the development and application of MEND in overcoming the PEG dilemma based on manipulating both the pharmacokinetics and intracellular trafficking of cellular uptake and endosomal release using a cleavable PEG lipid, a pH-sensitive fusogenic peptide, and a pH-sensitive cationic lipid. We also developed dual-ligand liposomes with a controlled diameter of around 300 nm, then modified these with a specific ligand and a cell penetrating peptide designed to target the neovasculature of tumors. Dual-ligand liposomes could induce an anti-tumor effect in drug resistant tumors by delivering drugs to tumor blood vessels, rather than to the cancer cells themselves. Here, we review our recent efforts to develop a novel liposomal drug delivery system (DDS) by manipulating pharmacokinetics and intracellular trafficking for drug therapy and nucleic acid medicine.