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Overview of the role of nanotechnological innovations in the detection and treatment of solid tumors

Authors Frank D, Tyagi C, Tomar LK, Choonara YE, du Toit LC, Kumar P, Penny C, Pillay V

Received 3 July 2013

Accepted for publication 21 August 2013

Published 22 January 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 589—613

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S50941

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4


Derusha Frank,1 Charu Tyagi,1 Lomas Tomar,1 Yahya E Choonara,1 Lisa C du Toit,1 Pradeep Kumar,1 Clement Penny,2 Viness Pillay1

1Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 2Department of Medical Oncology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


Abstract: Nanotechnology, although still in its infantile stages, has the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of disease progression and success of therapy for numerous diseases and conditions, not least of which is cancer. As it is a leading cause of mortality worldwide, early cancer detection, as well as safe and efficacious therapeutic intervention, will be indispensable in improving the prognosis related to cancers and overall survival rate, as well as health-related quality of life of patients diagnosed with cancer. The development of a relatively new field of nanomedicine, which combines various domains and technologies including nanotechnology, medicine, biology, pharmacology, mathematics, physics, and chemistry, has yielded different approaches to addressing these challenges. Of particular relevance in cancer, nanosystems have shown appreciable success in the realm of diagnosis and treatment. Characteristics attributable to these systems on account of the nanoscale size range allow for individualization of therapy, passive targeting, the attachment of targeting moieties for more specific targeting, minimally invasive procedures, and real-time imaging and monitoring of in vivo processes. Furthermore, incorporation into nanosystems may have the potential to reintroduce into clinical practice drugs that are no longer used because of various shortfalls, as well as aid in the registration of new, potent drugs with suboptimal pharmacokinetic profiles. Research into the development of nanosystems for cancer diagnosis and therapy is thus a rapidly emerging and viable field of study.

Keywords: nanosystems, targeted drug delivery, nanotheranostics, antineoplastic drugs, poor aqueous solubility, solid tumors


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