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Special Issue "Functionalized Liposomes"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Agnes Csiszár
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Biological Information Processing (IBI-2): Mechanobiology, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Leo-Brandt-Strasse, 52425 Jülich, Germany
Interests: drug delivery;liposomes;polyphenols;fluorescence microscopy; model membranes
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Bernd Hoffmann
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Biological Information Processing (IBI-2): Mechanobiology, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Leo-Brandt-Strasse, 52425 Jülich, Germany
Interests: Cyclic Substrate Stretch; migrating cells; Mechanical Stress-Induced Damage
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Efficient incorporation of fully functional biomolecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, or anti-cancer therapeutics into living organisms is an important industrial and medical need but, at the same time, a major pharmacological challenge. Lipid-based nanocarriers, liposomes, and solid lipid nanoparticles are widely used for these purposes because they fulfill all of the requirements for an advanced drug carrier system, i.e., they are highly biodegradable, loadable with versatile molecular species, such as hydrophobic as well as hydrophilic molecules, can be easily modified by additional targeting molecules, and show a long-term availability in living organisms. However, although lipid-based carriers are the most prevalent drug delivery systems, many aspects regarding functionalization and molecular interactions between cargo, carrier, and cellular target based on chemical properties of each compound are still under intense characterization to improve the delivery success.

The latest research could show that optimal delivery efficiencies can only be reached if the carrier particles contain specific reactive molecular patterns enabling specific interactions with the target cell surface. Here, the most challenging steps are the identification of target-specific biomolecules and the subsequent fabrication of tailor-made drug carrier particles for addressing cell-specific molecular players. Furthermore, systemic applications depend on high stability in body fluids to be finally accumulated at target sites, while local applications of liposomal carrier ideally should remain at sites of application. In both cases, monitoring and visualization of the drug carrier distribution in living organisms are essential and require additional molecular tools. Newly developed fluorescent or radioactive labels frequently use target-specific conjugation strategies or molecules with extraordinary physical properties to increase the time window of visualization.

This Special Issue of IJMS focuses on all kinds of newly developed and functionalized lipid nanoparticles for in vitro and in vivo applications. Elucidating their functional principles on the molecular level is of particular interest.

Dr. Agnes Csiszár
Dr. Bernd Hoffmann
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • multifunctional liposomes
  • therapeutic lipid nanoparticles
  • targeted drug delivery
  • cell-type-specific targeting
  • organelle-specific targeting
  • liposomal imaging and visualization

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
Cyanine Dyes for Photo-Thermal Therapy: A Comparison of Synthetic Liposomes and Natural Erythrocyte-Based Carriers
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(13), 6914; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22136914 - 27 Jun 2021
Viewed by 708
Abstract
Cyanine fluorescent dyes are attractive diagnostic or therapeutic agents due to their excellent optical properties. However, in free form, their use in biological applications is limited due to the short circulation time, instability, and toxicity. Therefore, their encapsulation into nano-carriers might help overcome [...] Read more.
Cyanine fluorescent dyes are attractive diagnostic or therapeutic agents due to their excellent optical properties. However, in free form, their use in biological applications is limited due to the short circulation time, instability, and toxicity. Therefore, their encapsulation into nano-carriers might help overcome the above-mentioned issues. In addition to indocyanine green (ICG), which is clinically approved and therefore the most widely used fluorescent dye, we tested the structurally similar and cheaper alternative called IR-820. Both dyes were encapsulated into liposomes. However, due to the synthetic origin of liposomes, they can induce an immunogenic response. To address this challenge, we proposed to use erythrocyte membrane vesicles (EMVs) as “new era” nano-carriers for cyanine dyes. The optical properties of both dyes were investigated in different biological relevant media. Then, the temperature stability and photo-stability of dyes in free form and encapsulated into liposomes and EMVs were evaluated. Nano-carriers efficiently protected dyes from thermal degradation, as well as from photo-induced degradation. Finally, a hemotoxicity study revealed that EMVs seem less hemotoxic dye carriers than clinically approved liposomes. Herein, we showed that EMVs exhibit great potential as nano-carriers for dyes with improved stability and hemocompatibility without losing excellent optical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Liposomes)
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Article
Integrin-Functionalised Giant Unilamellar Vesicles via Gel-Assisted Formation: Good Practices and Pitfalls
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(12), 6335; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22126335 - 13 Jun 2021
Viewed by 795
Abstract
Giant unilamellar vesicles (GUV) are powerful tools to explore physics and biochemistry of the cell membrane in controlled conditions. For example, GUVs were extensively used to probe cell adhesion, but often using non-physiological linkers, due to the difficulty of incorporating transmembrane adhesion proteins [...] Read more.
Giant unilamellar vesicles (GUV) are powerful tools to explore physics and biochemistry of the cell membrane in controlled conditions. For example, GUVs were extensively used to probe cell adhesion, but often using non-physiological linkers, due to the difficulty of incorporating transmembrane adhesion proteins into model membranes. Here we describe a new protocol for making GUVs incorporating the transmembrane protein integrin using gel-assisted swelling. We report an optimised protocol, enumerating the pitfalls encountered and precautions to be taken to maintain the robustness of the protocol. We characterise intermediate steps of small proteoliposome formation and the final formed GUVs. We show that the integrin molecules are successfully incorporated and are functional. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Liposomes)
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Article
Effect of Selected Anionic and Cationic Drugs Affecting the Central Nervous System on Electrical Properties of Phosphatidylcholine Liposomes: Experiment and Theory
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(5), 2270; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22052270 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 642
Abstract
Interactions between phospholipid membranes and selected drugs affecting the central nervous system (CNS) were investigated. Small, unilamellar liposomes were used as biomimetic cell membrane models. Microelectrophoretic experiments on two-component liposomes were performed using the electrophoretic light scattering technique (ELS). The effect of both [...] Read more.
Interactions between phospholipid membranes and selected drugs affecting the central nervous system (CNS) were investigated. Small, unilamellar liposomes were used as biomimetic cell membrane models. Microelectrophoretic experiments on two-component liposomes were performed using the electrophoretic light scattering technique (ELS). The effect of both positively (perphenazine, PF) and negatively (barbituric acid, BA) charged drugs on zwitterionic L-α-phosphatidylcholine (PC) membranes were analyzed. Experimental membrane surface charge density (δ) data were determined as a function of pH. Quantitative descriptions of the adsorption equilibria formed due to the binding of solution ions to analyzed two-component membranes are presented. Binding constants of the solution ions with perphenazine and barbituric acid-modified membranes were determined. The results of our research show that both charged drugs change surface charge density values of phosphatidylcholine membranes. It can be concluded that perphenazine and barbituric acid are located near the membrane surface, interacting electrostatically with phosphatidylcholine polar heads. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Liposomes)
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Article
Bi-Functional Radiotheranostics of 188Re-Liposome-Fcy-hEGF for Radio- and Chemo-Therapy of EGFR-Overexpressing Cancer Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(4), 1902; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22041902 - 14 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 585
Abstract
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) specific therapeutics is of great importance in cancer treatment. Fcy-hEGF fusion protein, composed of yeast cytosine deaminase (Fcy) and human EGF (hEGF), is capable of binding to EGFR and enzymatically convert 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) to 1000-fold toxic 5-fluorocuracil (5-FU), [...] Read more.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) specific therapeutics is of great importance in cancer treatment. Fcy-hEGF fusion protein, composed of yeast cytosine deaminase (Fcy) and human EGF (hEGF), is capable of binding to EGFR and enzymatically convert 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) to 1000-fold toxic 5-fluorocuracil (5-FU), thereby inhibiting the growth of EGFR-expressing tumor cells. To develop EGFR-specific therapy, 188Re-liposome-Fcy-hEGF was constructed by insertion of Fcy-hEGF fusion protein onto the surface of liposomes encapsulating of 188Re. Western blotting, MALDI-TOF, column size exclusion and flow cytometry were used to confirm the conjugation and bio-activity of 188Re-liposome-Fcy-hEGF. Cell lines with EGFR expression were subjected to treat with 188Re-liposome-Fcy-hEGF/5-FC in the presence of 5-FC. The 188Re-liposome-Fcy-hEGF/5-FC revealed a better cytotoxic effect for cancer cells than the treatment of liposome-Fcy-hEGF/5-FC or 188Re-liposome-Fcy-hEGF alone. The therapeutics has radio- and chemo-toxicity simultaneously and specifically target to EGFR-expression tumor cells, thereby achieving synergistic anticancer activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Liposomes)
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Article
Evaluation of Nanotargeted 111In-Cyclic RGDfK-Liposome in a Human Melanoma Xenotransplantation Model
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1099; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22031099 - 22 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 668
Abstract
Nanotargeted liposomes may be modified with targeting peptide on the surface of a prepared liposome to endow specificity and elevate targeting efficiency. The aim of this study was to develop a radioactive targeted nanoparticle, the 111In-cyclic RGDfK-liposome, and its advantage of recognizing [...] Read more.
Nanotargeted liposomes may be modified with targeting peptide on the surface of a prepared liposome to endow specificity and elevate targeting efficiency. The aim of this study was to develop a radioactive targeted nanoparticle, the 111In-cyclic RGDfK-liposome, and its advantage of recognizing the αVβ3 integrin was examined. The cyclic RGDfK modified liposomes were demonstrated the ability to bind the αVβ3 integrin expressed on the surface of human melanoma cell in vitro and in vivo. The effects of the cyclic RGDfK-liposome on the functioning of phagocytes was also examined, showing no considerable negative effects on the engulfment of bacteria and the generation of reactive oxygen species. Based upon these findings, the cyclic RGDfK- liposome is said to be a promising agent for tumor imaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Liposomes)
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Article
Hyaluronan-Loaded Liposomal Dexamethasone–Diclofenac Nanoparticles for Local Osteoarthritis Treatment
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(2), 665; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22020665 - 11 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 936
Abstract
Osteoarthritis (OA) remains one of the common degenerative joint diseases and a major cause of pain and disability in older adult individuals. Oral administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as diclofenac, DIC) or intra-articular injected gluco-corticosteroids (such as dexamethasone, DEX) were the [...] Read more.
Osteoarthritis (OA) remains one of the common degenerative joint diseases and a major cause of pain and disability in older adult individuals. Oral administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as diclofenac, DIC) or intra-articular injected gluco-corticosteroids (such as dexamethasone, DEX) were the conventional treatment strategies for OA to reduce joint pain. Current limitations for both drugs including severe adverse effects with risks of toxicity were noted. The aim of the present study was to generate a novel OA treatment formulation hyaluronic acid (HA)-Liposomal (Lipo)-DIC/DEX to combat joint pain. The formulation was prepared by constructing DIC with DEX-loaded nanostructured lipid carriers Lipo-DIC/DEX mixed with hyaluronic acid (HA) for prolonged OA application. The prepared Lipo-DIC/DEX nanoparticles revealed the size as 103.6 ± 0.3 nm on average, zeta potential as −22.3 ± 4.6 mV, the entrapment efficiency of 90.5 ± 5.6%, and the DIC and DEX content was 22.5 ± 4.1 and 2.5 ± 0.6%, respectively. Evidence indicated that HA-Lipo-DIC/DEX could reach the effective working concentration in 4 h and sustained the drug-releasing time for at least 168 h. No significant toxicities but increased cell numbers were observed when HA-Lipo-DIC/DEX co-cultured with articular chondrocytes cells. Using live-animal In vivo imaging system (IVIS), intra-articular injection of each HA-Lipo-DIC/DEX sufficed to reduce knee joint inflammation in OA mice over a time span of four weeks. Single-dose injection could reduce the inflammation volume down to 77.5 ± 5.1% from initial over that time span. Our results provided the novel drug-releasing formulation with safety and efficiency which could be a promising system for osteoarthritis pain control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Liposomes)
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Article
Delivery of the Radionuclide 131I Using Cationic Fusogenic Liposomes as Nanocarriers
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 457; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010457 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1047
Abstract
Liposomes are highly biocompatible and versatile drug carriers with an increasing number of applications in the field of nuclear medicine and diagnostics. So far, only negatively charged liposomes with intercalated radiometals, e.g., 64Cu, 99mTc, have been reported. However, the process of [...] Read more.
Liposomes are highly biocompatible and versatile drug carriers with an increasing number of applications in the field of nuclear medicine and diagnostics. So far, only negatively charged liposomes with intercalated radiometals, e.g., 64Cu, 99mTc, have been reported. However, the process of cellular uptake of liposomes by endocytosis is rather slow. Cellular uptake can be accelerated by recently developed cationic liposomes, which exhibit extraordinarily high membrane fusion ability. The aim of the present study was the development of the formulation and the characterization of such cationic fusogenic liposomes with intercalated radioactive [131I]I for potential use in therapeutic applications. The epithelial human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 was used as a model for invasive cancer cells and cellular uptake of [131I]I was monitored in vitro. Delivery efficiencies of cationic and neutral liposomes were compared with uptake of free iodide. The best cargo delivery efficiency (~10%) was achieved using cationic fusogenic liposomes due to their special delivery pathway of membrane fusion. Additionally, human blood cells were also incubated with cationic control liposomes and free [131I]I. In these cases, iodide delivery efficiencies remained below 3%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Liposomes)
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Article
Nanoliposomes and Nanoemulsions Based on Chia Seed Lipids: Preparation and Characterization
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9079; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21239079 - 29 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 791
Abstract
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are important in reducing the risk for cardiovascular, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases. Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seeds contain high levels of omega-3 PUFA, α-linolenic acid (ALA) in particular, and are a potential source for development of omega-3 PUFA-based [...] Read more.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are important in reducing the risk for cardiovascular, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases. Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seeds contain high levels of omega-3 PUFA, α-linolenic acid (ALA) in particular, and are a potential source for development of omega-3 PUFA-based products. Our objective was to obtain and characterize chia seed lipids, focusing on phospholipid fraction, and to investigate their use in the formulation of nanoemulsions (NE) and nanoliposomes (NL). Solvent-based lipid extraction was performed on the ORURO variety of chia seeds, followed by lipid composition analysis using GC and LC-MS and physico-chemical characterization of chia NL and NE. Folch extraction led to a slightly higher yield of ALA as compared to Soxhlet extraction. Lipid, phospholipid, and fatty acid composition analysis of the oil and residue revealed that the residue was rich in phospholipids; these were used to prepare NE and NL. Physico-chemical characterization showed that NE and NL were generally spherical (transmission electron microscopy), with a size of <120 nm under hydrated conditions that remained stable over 5 days. In conclusion, chia oil and phospholipid-rich residue can be used to obtain stable NL or NE using a simple method that involves spontaneous emulsification during lipid hydration, which potentially may be useful in cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and other health applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Liposomes)
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Article
Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy Reveals Interaction of Some Microdomain-Associated Lipids with Cellular Focal Adhesion Sites
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(21), 8149; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21218149 - 31 Oct 2020
Viewed by 620
Abstract
Cells adhere to the extracellular matrix at distinct anchoring points, mostly focal adhesions. These are rich in immobile transmembrane- and cytoskeletal-associated proteins, some of which are known to interact with lipids of the plasma membrane. To investigate their effect on lipid mobility and [...] Read more.
Cells adhere to the extracellular matrix at distinct anchoring points, mostly focal adhesions. These are rich in immobile transmembrane- and cytoskeletal-associated proteins, some of which are known to interact with lipids of the plasma membrane. To investigate their effect on lipid mobility and molecular interactions, fluorescently labeled lipids were incorporated into the plasma membranes of primary myofibroblasts using fusogenic liposomes. With fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, we tested mobilities of labeled microdomain-associated lipids such as sphingomyelin (SM), ganglioside (GM1), and cholesterol as well as of a microdomain-excluded phospholipid (PC) and a lipid-like molecule (DiIC18(7)) in focal adhesions (FAs) and in neighboring non-adherent membrane areas. We found significantly slower diffusion of SM and GM1 inside FAs but no effect on cholesterol, PC, and DiIC18(7). These data were compared to the molecular behavior in Lo/Ld-phase separated giant unilamellar vesicles, which served as a model system for microdomain containing lipid membranes. In contrast to the model system, lipid mobility changes in FAs were molecularly selective, and no particle enrichment occurred. Our findings suggest that lipid behavior in FAs cannot be described by Lo/Ld-phase separation. The observed slow-down of some molecules in FAs is potentially due to transient binding between lipids and some molecular constituent(s). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Liposomes)
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Article
Curcumin Loaded Nanoliposomes Localization by Nanoscale Characterization
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7276; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21197276 - 01 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
Curcumin is a hydrophobic drug gaining growing attention because of its high availability, its innocuity, and its anticancer, antitumoral, and antioxidative activity. However, its poor ‎‎bioavailability in the human body, caused by its low aqueous solubility and fast degradation, ‎‎presents a big hurdle [...] Read more.
Curcumin is a hydrophobic drug gaining growing attention because of its high availability, its innocuity, and its anticancer, antitumoral, and antioxidative activity. However, its poor ‎‎bioavailability in the human body, caused by its low aqueous solubility and fast degradation, ‎‎presents a big hurdle for its oral administration. Here, we used nano-vesicles made of ‎‎phospholipids to carry and protect curcumin in its membrane. Various curcumin amounts were ‎‎encapsulated in the produced phospholipid system to form drug-loaded liposomes. ‎Curcumin’s ‎concentration was evaluated using UV-visible measurements. The maximal ‎amount of curcumin ‎that could be added to liposomes was assessed. Nuclear magnetic ‎resonance (NMR) analyses ‎were used to determine curcumin’s interactions and localization ‎within the phospholipid ‎membrane of the liposomes. X-ray scattering (SAXS) and atomic ‎force microscopy (AFM) ‎experiments were performed to characterize the membrane structure ‎and organization, as well as its ‎mechanical properties at the nanoscale. Conservation of the membrane’s properties is found with ‎the addition of curcumin in various ‎amounts before saturation, allowing the preparation of a ‎defined nanocarrier with desired ‎amounts of the drug. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Liposomes)
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Review

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Review
Translating Research for the Radiotheranostics of Nanotargeted 188Re-Liposome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(8), 3868; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22083868 - 08 Apr 2021
Viewed by 588
Abstract
Nanoliposomes are one of the leading potential nano drug delivery systems capable of targeting chemotherapeutics to tumor sites because of their passive nano-targeting capability through the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect for cancer patients. Recent advances in nano-delivery systems have inspired the [...] Read more.
Nanoliposomes are one of the leading potential nano drug delivery systems capable of targeting chemotherapeutics to tumor sites because of their passive nano-targeting capability through the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect for cancer patients. Recent advances in nano-delivery systems have inspired the development of a wide range of nanotargeted materials and strategies for applications in preclinical and clinical usage in the cancer field. Nanotargeted 188Re-liposome is a unique internal passive radiotheranostic agent for nuclear imaging and radiotherapeutic applications in various types of cancer. This article reviews and summarizes our multi-institute, multidiscipline, and multi-functional studied results and achievements in the research and development of nanotargeted 188Re-liposome from preclinical cells and animal models to translational clinical investigations, including radionuclide nanoliposome formulation, targeted nuclear imaging, biodistribution, pharmacokinetics, radiation dosimetry, radiation tumor killing effects in animal models, nanotargeted radionuclide and radio/chemo-combination therapeutic effects, and acute toxicity in various tumor animal models. The systemic preclinical and clinical studied results suggest 188Re-liposome is feasible and promising for in vivo passive nanotargeted radionuclide theranostics in future cancer care applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Liposomes)
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