Curcumin, a natural yellow phenolic compound, is present in many kinds of herbs, particularly in Curcuma longa Linn. (turmeric). It is a natural antioxidant and has shown many pharmacological activities such as anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, and anti-Alzheimer in both preclinical and clinical studies. Moreover, curcumin has hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, hypoglycemic, antirheumatic, and antidiabetic activities and it also suppresses thrombosis and protects against myocardial infarction. Particularly, curcumin has demonstrated efficacy as an anticancer agent, but a limiting factor is its extremely low aqueous solubility which hampers its use as therapeutic agent. Therefore, many technologies have been developed and applied to overcome this limitation. In this review, we summarize the recent works on the design and development of nano-sized delivery systems for curcumin, including liposomes, polymeric nanoparticles and micelles, conjugates, peptide carriers, cyclodextrins, solid dispersions, lipid nanoparticles and emulsions. Efficacy studies of curcumin nanoformulations using cancer cell lines and in vivo models as well as up-to-date human clinical trials are also discussed.
Keywords: Cancer; Clinical studies; Curcumin; Drug delivery; Nanoformulation; Nanomedicine.
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