Myofibroblasts are the key players in extracellular matrix remodeling, a core phenomenon in numerous devastating fibrotic diseases. Not only in organ fibrosis, but also the pivotal role of myofibroblasts in tumor progression, invasion and metastasis has recently been highlighted. Myofibroblast targeting has gained tremendous attention in order to inhibit the progression of incurable fibrotic diseases, or to limit the myofibroblast-induced tumor progression and metastasis. In this review, we outline the origin of myofibroblasts, their general characteristics and functions during fibrosis progression in three major organs: liver, kidneys and lungs as well as in cancer. We will then discuss the state-of-the art drug targeting technologies to myofibroblasts in context of the above-mentioned organs and tumor microenvironment. The overall objective of this review is therefore to advance our understanding in drug targeting to myofibroblasts, and concurrently identify opportunities and challenges for designing new strategies to develop novel diagnostics and therapeutics against fibrosis and cancer.
- Drug targeting
- Tumor microenvironment