Designer lipids for drug delivery: From heads to tails. For four decades, liposomes composed of both naturally occurring and synthetic lipids have been investigated as delivery vehicles for low molecular weight and macromolecular drugs. These studies paved the way for the clinical and commercial success of a number of liposomal drugs, each of which required a tailored formulation; one liposome size does not fit all drugs! Instead, the physicochemical properties of the liposome must be matched to the pharmacology of the drug. An extensive biophysical literature demonstrates that varying lipid composition can influence the size, membrane stability, in vivo interactions, and drug release properties of a liposome. In this review we focus on recently described synthetic lipid headgroups, linkers and hydrophobic domains that can provide control over the intermolecular forces, phase preference, and macroscopic behavior of liposomes.
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