Polymers, responsiveness and cancer therapy

Artif Cells Nanomed Biotechnol. 2019 Dec;47(1):395-405. doi: 10.1080/21691401.2018.1559176.


A single outcome in a biological procedure at the time of cancer therapy is due to multiple changes happening simultaneously. Hence to mimic such complex biological processes, an understanding of stimuli responsiveness is needed to sense specific changes and respond in a predictable manner. Such responses due to polymers may take place either simultaneously at the site or in a sequential manner from preparation to transporting pathways to cellular compartments. The present review comprehends the stimuli-responsive polymers and multi-responsiveness with respect to cancer therapy. It focuses on the exploitation of different stimuli like temperature, pH and enzymes responsiveness in a multi-stimuli setting. Nanogels and micelles being two of the most commonly used responsive polymeric carriers have also been discussed. The role of multiple stimuli delivery system is significant due to multiple changes happening in the near surroundings of cancer cells. These responsive materials are able to mimic some biological processes and recognize at the molecular level itself to manipulate development of custom-designed molecules for targeting cancer cells.

Keywords: Responsiveness; cancer; micelles; nanogel; polymers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Carriers* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Polymers* / chemistry
  • Temperature


  • Drug Carriers
  • Polymers