Drug delivery with polymeric nanocarriers-cellular uptake mechanisms

Levi Collin Nelemans, Leonid Gurevich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
74 Downloads (Pure)


Nanocarrier-based systems hold a promise to become "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" capable of delivering drugs, proteins and genetic materials intact to a specific location in an organism down to subcellular level. The key question, however, how a nanocarrier is internalized by cells and how its intracellular trafficking and the fate in the cell can be controlled remains yet to be answered. In this review we survey drug delivery systems based on various polymeric nanocarriers, their uptake mechanisms, as well as the experimental techniques and common pathway inhibitors applied for internalization studies. While energy-dependent endocytosis is observed as the main uptake pathway, the integrity of a drug-loaded nanocarrier upon its internalization appears to be a seldomly addressed problem that can drastically affect the uptake kinetics and toxicity of the system in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number366
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2020


  • Amphiphilic block copolymers
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Drug release
  • Endocytosis
  • Nanoparticles
  • Polymeric micelles


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