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ROS-responsive drug delivery systems.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an important role in signal transduction and metabolism. Over-produced ROS in cells or tissues, however, often leads to oxidation stress that has implications in a series of diseases including cancer, aging, atherosclerosis and inflammation. Driven by the need for on-demand drug delivery and fuelled by recent development of ROS-responsive materials and nanomedicine, responsive drug delivery systems (DDSs) have gained increasing research interest. ROS-responsive DDS is designed to release therapeutic agents only in targets of interest that produce excessive ROS, which may lead to both enhanced therapeutic efficiency and reduced side effects. Multiple-stimuli responsive DDSs that are also sensitive to other stimuli can further enhance controlled drug release in sites where multiple stimuli coexist. Beyond drug delivery, multifunctional DDSs have great potential in achieving simultaneous imaging, combinatorial therapy and targeting ability by introducing multifunctional elements such as signal reporter, targeting elements and photosensitizer. This review will summarize the latest development of ROS-responsive DDSs and discuss their design principle and biomedical applications.

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