14. Polymeric Micelles for the Delivery of Poorly Soluble Drugs

  1. Dennis Douroumis1 and
  2. Alfred Fahr2
  1. Swati Biswas,
  2. Onkar S. Vaze,
  3. Sara Movassaghian and
  4. Vladimir P. Torchilin

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118444726.ch14

Drug Delivery Strategies for Poorly Water-Soluble Drugs

Drug Delivery Strategies for Poorly Water-Soluble Drugs

How to Cite

Biswas, S., Vaze, O. S., Movassaghian, S. and Torchilin, V. P. (2013) Polymeric Micelles for the Delivery of Poorly Soluble Drugs, in Drug Delivery Strategies for Poorly Water-Soluble Drugs (eds D. Douroumis and A. Fahr), John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118444726.ch14

Editor Information

  1. 1

    School of Science, University of Greenwich, UK

  2. 2

    Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470711972

Online ISBN: 9781118444726



  • micelles;
  • micellization;
  • critical micelles concentrations;
  • amphiphilic;
  • copolymer;
  • polymeric;
  • drug delivery;
  • hydrophobic;
  • targeting;
  • multifunctional


Micelles are self-assembly, spherical, supramolecular, nanosized, colloidal particles with a hydrophobic core and a hydrophilic corona, formed by the aggregation of amphiphilic molecules in aqueous solutions. The concentration of amphiphilic molecules, at which the micellization occurs, is termed a critical micelle concentration (CMC). Above CMC, amphiphilic molecules establish a thermodynamically stable system with a reduction of total free energy by micellization. Polymeric micelles have found wide application as pharmaceutical nanocarriers for the delivery of poorly soluble drugs. The poorly water-soluble drugs can easily get trapped in the hydrophobic core of the micelle, while the hydrophilic shell is responsible for micelle stabilization and interaction with various proteins when in the biological system. The most commonly used hydrophilic segment is polyethylene glycol, with a molecular weight ranging from 2-15 KDa, whereas the hydrophobic core-forming segment typically consists of hydrophobic poly (propylene oxide) (PPO), poly (D,L-lactic acid) (PDLLA), poly (ϵ-caprolactone) (PCL) and poly (L-aspartic acid). Micellar nanocarriers, due to their small size, can accumulate in the tumor tissue via passive targeting (i.e., the enhanced permeability and retention effect). Surface-functionalized polymeric micelles have the potential for site-specific targeted drug delivery.