Engineering Nanomedicines for Improved Melanoma Therapy: Progress and Promises

Di Bei; Jianing Meng; Bi-Botti C Youan


Nanomedicine. 2010;5(9):1385-1399. 

In This Article


Cubosomes (Figure 5) consist of honeycombed (cavernous) structures separating two internal aqueous channels and a large interfacial area. Self-assembled cubosomes as active drug delivery systems are receiving more and more attention and interest after the first discovery and nomination.[66,67]

Figure 5.

Cubosome exhibiting its cavernous internal and cubic structure and its membrane composition with different drug-loading modalities.

The preparation mostly involves simple emulsification of monoglyceride and a polymer, accompanied by sonication and homogenization. The preparation methods fall into two categories, including top-down and bottom-up techniques.[68] In the top-down technique, a coarse dispersion of cubosome is usually formed first, which is then tailored into more uniform and finer particle dispersions with the help of high energy input devices (e.g., homogenization and sonication). However, in the bottom-up technique, cubosomes are formed instead by assembling nanomaterials into the final cubsome dispersion.

Several studies have been carried out on the physical and chemical properties of cubosomes. The preparation of cubosomes based on different materials has been reported.[68–71] It has also been reported that cubosomes transform into hexasomes, exhibiting a time-resolved behavior due to pH-induced lipid hydrolysis.[72] The internal and structural changes of cubosomes could be controlled by adjustment in lipid composition.[73] The specific type of cubosomes was researched to identify their detailed structure.[74,75] The cubic symmetry and ion-exchange properties,[76] the bilayer phase transition,[77] the effect of vitamin E and polymer on cubosome structure,[71] the instability of cubosomes in plasma due to interactions with lipoproteins (high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein) and albumin[78] were also reported.

At present, most of the research related to cubosomes has been focused on the preparation process, structural characteristics, characterization and stability. For example, recently, few anticancer drugs have been successfully encapsulated in cubosomes[79–81] and characterized physicochemically.[82]

Although the in vitro and in vivo pharmacological studies of cubosomes have not been widely conducted, the unique structure of this promising nanocarrier suggests its application in melanoma treatment. There are several publications concerning the release profile of cubosomes,[83] application as a percutaneous delivery system[84] and application as a formulation for skin hydration.[85]

Overall, cubosome have great potential in drug nanoformulations for melanoma therapy owing to their potential advantages, including high drug payloads due to high internal surface area and cubic crystalline structures,[86] relatively simple preparation method, biodegradability of lipids, the ability of encapsulating hydrophobic, hydrophilic and amphiphilic substances, targeting and controlled release of bioactive agents.


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