Liver is a vital organ responsible for plethora of functions including detoxification, protein synthesis, and the production of biochemicals necessary for the sustenance of life. Therefore, patients with chronic liver diseases such as viral hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma need immediate attention to sustain life and as a result are often exposed to the prolonged treatment with drugs/herbal medications. Lack of site-specific delivery of these medications to the hepatocytes/nonparenchymal cells and adverse effects associated with their off-target interactions limit their continuous use. This calls for the development and fabrication of targeted delivery systems which can deliver the drug payload at the desired site of action for defined period of time. The primary aim of drug targeting is to manipulate the whole body distribution of drugs, that is, to prevent distribution to non-target cells and concomitantly increase the drug concentration at the targeted site. Carrier molecules are designed for their selective cellular uptake, taking advantage of specific receptors or binding sites present on the surface membrane of the target cell. In this review, various aspects of liver targeting of drug molecules and herbal medications have been discussed which elucidate the importance of delivering the drugs/herbal medications at their desired site of action.
This article was published online in Biomed Research International and is free to access.