Ki Young Choia, b, 1, Gurusamy Saravanakumarc, 1, Jae Hyung Parkc, Kinam Parka,*
a Purdue University, Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Pharmaceutics, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
b Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine (LOMIN), National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
c Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 440-746, Republic of Korea
*Corresponding author at: Purdue University, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, 206 S. Martin Jischke Drive West Lafayette, IN 47907-2032, USA.
1These authors contributed equally to this work.
The therapeutic efficacy of most drugs is greatly depends on their ability to cross the cellular barrier and reach their intracellular target sites. To transport the drugs effectively through the cellular membrane and to deliver them into the intracellular environment, several interesting smart carrier systems based on both synthetic or natural polymers have been designed and developed. In recent years, hyaluronic acid (HA) has emerged as a promising candidate for intracellular delivery of various therapeutic and imaging agents because of its innate ability to recognize specific cellular receptors that overexpressed on diseased cells. The aim of this review is to highlight the significance of HA in cancer, and to explore the recent advances of HA-based drug carriers towards cancer imaging and therapeutics.