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Targeting of small molecule anticancer drugs to the tumour and its vasculature using cationic liposomes: lessons from gene therapy

Crispin R Dass1* and Peter FM Choong12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedics, University of Melbourne, St. Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, Australia

2 Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, Melbourne, Australia

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Cancer Cell International 2006, 6:17  doi:10.1186/1475-2867-6-17

Published: 23 June 2006


Cationic (positively charged) liposomes have been tested in various gene therapy clinical trials for neoplastic and other diseases. They have demonstrated selectivity for tumour vascular endothelial cells raising hopes for both antiangiogenic and antivascular therapies. They are also capable of being selectively delivered to the lungs and liver when administered intravenously. These vesicles are being targeted to the tumour in various parts of the body by using advanced liposomal systems such as ligand-receptor and antibody-antigen combinations. At present, the transferrin receptor is commonly used for cancer-targeted drug delivery systems including cationic liposomes. This review looks at the growing utility of these vesicles for delivery of small molecule anticancer drugs.