Advances in lipid-based drug delivery: Enhancing efficiency for hydrophobic drugs

Gang Wang, Junjie Wang, Wei Wu, Shing Shun Tony To, Huafu Zhao, Jing Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Many drug candidates with high therapeutic efficacy have low water solubility, which limits the administration and transport across physiological barriers, for example, the tumor tissue barrier. Therefore, strategies are needed to permeabilize the physiological barriers safely so that hydrophobic drugs may be delivered efficiently.Areas covered: This review focuses on prospects for therapeutic application of lipid-based drug delivery carriers that increase hydrophobic drugs to improve their solubility, bioavailability, drug release, targeting and absorption. Moreover, novel techniques to prepare for lipid-based drug delivery to extend pharmaceuticals with poor bioavailability such as surface modifications of lipid-based drug delivery are presented. Industrial developments of several drug candidates employing these strategies are discussed, as well as applications and clinical trials.Expert opinion: Overall, hydrophobic drugs can be encapsulated in the lipid-based drug delivery systems, represent a relatively safe and promising strategy to extend drug retention, lengthen the lifetime in the circulation, and allow active targeting to specific tissues and controllable drug release in the desirable sites. However, there are still noticeable gaps that need to be filled before the theoretical advantage of these formulations may truly be realized such as investigation on the use of lipid-based drug delivery for administration routes. This research may provide further interest within the area of lipid-based systems, both in industry and in the clinic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1475-1499
Number of pages25
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Delivery
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • bioavailability
  • biodegradability
  • hydrophobic drugs
  • lipid-based drug delivery
  • targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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