Covalent organic framework nanomedicines: Biocompatibility for advanced nanocarriers and cancer theranostics applications

Nem Singh, Jungryun Kim, Jaewon Kim, Kyungwoo Lee, Zehra Zunbul, Injun Lee, Eunji Kim, Sung Gil Chi, Jong Seung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Nanomedicines for drug delivery and imaging-guided cancer therapy is a rapidly growing research area. The unique properties of nanomedicines have a massive potential in solving longstanding challenges of existing cancer drugs, such as poor localization at the tumor site, high drug doses and toxicity, recurrence, and poor immune response. However, inadequate biocompatibility restricts their potential in clinical translation. Therefore, advanced nanomaterials with high biocompatibility and enhanced therapeutic efficiency are highly desired to fast-track the clinical translation of nanomedicines. Intrinsic properties of nanoscale covalent organic frameworks (nCOFs), such as suitable size, modular pore geometry and porosity, and straightforward post-synthetic modification via simple organic transformations, make them incredibly attractive for future nanomedicines. The ability of COFs to disintegrate in a slightly acidic tumor microenvironment also gives them a competitive advantage in targeted delivery. This review summarizes recently published applications of COFs in drug delivery, photo-immuno therapy, sonodynamic therapy, photothermal therapy, chemotherapy, pyroptosis, and combination therapy. Herein we mainly focused on modifications of COFs to enhance their biocompatibility, efficacy and potential clinical translation. This review will provide the fundamental knowledge in designing biocompatible nCOFs-based nanomedicines and will help in the rapid development of cancer drug carriers and theranostics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-380
Number of pages23
JournalBioactive Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Mar

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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