Designing a therapeutic modality that will reach a certain organ, tissue, or cell type is crucial for both the therapeutic efficiency and to limit off-target adverse effects. Nanoparticles carrying various drugs, such as nucleic acids, small molecules and proteins, are promoting modalities to this end. Beyond the need to identify a target for a specific indication, an adequate design has to address the multiple biological barriers, such as systemic barriers, dilution and unspecific distribution, tissue penetration and intracellular trafficking. The field of targeted delivery has developed rapidly in recent years, with tremendous progress made in understating the biological barriers, and new technologies to functionalize nanoparticles with targeting moieties for an accurate, specific and highly selective delivery. Implementing new approaches like multi-functionalized nanocarriers and machine learning models will advance the field for designing safe, cell -specific nanoparticle delivery systems. Here, we will critically review the current progress in the field and suggest novel strategies to improve cell specific delivery of therapeutic payloads.