BACKGROUND: Numerous drug delivery strategies have been studied, but many hurdles exist in drug delivery rates to the target site. Recently, researchers have attempted to remotely control the in vivo behavior of drugs with light to overcome the shortcomings of conventional drug delivery systems. Photodynamic and photothermal systems are representative strategies wherein a photosensitive material is activated in response to a specific wavelength of light.
AREA COVERED: Photosensitive materials generally exhibit poor solubility and low biocompatibility. Additionally, their low photostability negatively affects delivery performance. A formulation of lipid-based nanoparticles containing photosensitive substances can help achieve photosensitive drug delivery with improved biocompatibility. The lipid bilayer structure, which can be assembled and disassembled by modulating the surrounding conditions (temperature, pH, etc.), can also be crucial for controlled release of drugs.
EXPERT OPINION: To the best of our knowledge, translation research on photoresponsive nanoparticles is scarce. However, as various drugs based on lipid nanoparticles have been clinically approved, the development potential of the lipid-based photoresponsive nanoparticles seems high. Thus, the identification of valid indications and development of optimum medical devices will increase the interest in photoresponsive material-based nanoparticles.