Blood-brain barrier-crossing dendrimers for glioma theranostics

Biomater Sci. 2024 Mar 12;12(6):1346-1356. doi: 10.1039/d4bm00043a.


Glioma, as a disease of the central nervous system, is difficult to be treated due to the presence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) that can severely hamper the efficacy of most therapeutic agents. Hence, drug delivery to glioma in an efficient, safe, and specifically targeted manner is the key to effective treatment of glioma. With the advances in nanotechnology, targeted drug delivery systems have been extensively explored to deliver chemotherapeutic agents, nucleic acids, and contrast agents. Among these nanocarriers, dendrimers have played a significant role since they possess highly branched structures, and are easy to be decorated, thus offering numerous binding sites for various drugs and ligands. Dendrimers can be designed to cross the BBB for glioma targeting, therapy or theranostics. In this review, we provide a concise overview of dendrimer-based carrier designs including dendrimer surface modification with hydroxyl termini, peptides, and transferrin etc. for glioma imaging diagnostics, chemotherapy, gene therapy, or imaging-guided therapy. Finally, the future perspectives of dendrimer-based glioma theraputics are also briefly discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Dendrimers* / chemistry
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Glioma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Glioma* / drug therapy
  • Glioma* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Precision Medicine


  • Dendrimers