Cell-specific delivery of biologicals

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We have entered the era of biologicals. Although new chemical entities are still produced and successfully reach the market, many new biological products like antibodies and their derivatives, siRNA, cytokines, enzymes and other therapeutic peptides are now being developed. Already a third of all new therapeutic products in 2011 were biologicals rather than chemical derivatives. In this review the authors aim to summarize the possibilities to deliver anti-fibrotic agents to the fibrotic liver. They specifically focus on the use of biological products

Liver fibrosis is a complex disease affecting millions of people world-wide. It involves the activation of several cell types whose activities are tightly controlled by endogenous mediators. No pharmacotherapy is available for this disease, despite the fact that many experimental drugs are very effective in vitro and the liver is easily accessible for most drugs. Our review provides arguments showing that cell-selectivity is essential for most antifibrotics. Several cell-specific drug carriers targeting the key pathogenic liver cells are discussed with special focus on hepatic stellate cells and fibroblast-like cells. Since endogenous mediators represent a powerful set of tools to modify the pathogenic process, this review focuses on these mediators as therapeutics and the problems and pitfalls associated with the use of such biologicals.

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