Cell Bio Bites Topic: Biological Membranes – Liposomes for Drug Delivery
The Advances Made in Cancer Research using Liposomes
Biol 130 Tutorial Section 125
Michael Taylor The Advances Made in Cancer Research using Liposomes
Many of the drugs that are taken have unwanted side effects in the human body.
Liposomes are global structures found in the lipid bilayer that are sought to heighten the
therapeutic effects of drugs (Allen, 1996). Research started in the 1900s with many experiments
conducted on how liposomes could offer their maximum potential and efficiency (Allen, 1996).
This essay explores the idea that liposomes have advanced in curing cancer with site-specific
targeting, reducing the size of liposomes, and optimizing the liposome surface.
Site-specific targeting has greatly improved the chances of the anticancer drug
reaching the wanted area, especially in cancer research. The therapeutic effects are much higher
in passive and active targeting (Sharma & Sharma, 1997). Passive targeting is used on cells that
will automatically phagocytize liposomes. Allen (1996) gives the example of liposomal
doxorubicin, an anticancer drug that is made with hydrophilic polymers in order to increase the
time that the drug can be used. Active targeting forcefully attaches the liposome to the desired
site using antibodies (Sharma & Sharma, 1997). It has been tested that passive targeting works
on solid tumours, while active targeting is more effectual on less developed tumours due to the
permeability of the liposomes. Both methods are instrumental in reducing the spread of cancer
throughout the body.
Smaller sizes in liposomes are more functional in acting as an anticancer drug. The
reduced size lengthens the duration in which the liposomes are prone to phagocytosis (Sharma &
Sharma, 1997). These liposomes are able to travel through capillaries in comparison to the