Targeted therapy using nanotechnology: focus on cancer
Vanna Sanna, Nicolino Pala, Mario Sechi
Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Laboratory of Nanomedicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
Abstract: Recent advances in nanotechnology and biotechnology have contributed to the development of engineered nanoscale materials as innovative prototypes to be used for biomedical applications and optimized therapy. Due to their unique features, including a large surface area, structural properties, and a long circulation time in blood compared with small molecules, a plethora of nanomaterials has been developed, with the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of several diseases, in particular by improving the sensitivity and recognition ability of imaging contrast agents and by selectively directing bioactive agents to biological targets. Focusing on cancer, promising nanoprototypes have been designed to overcome the lack of specificity of conventional chemotherapeutic agents, as well as for early detection of precancerous and malignant lesions. However, several obstacles, including difficulty in achieving the optimal combination of physicochemical parameters for tumor targeting, evading particle clearance mechanisms, and controlling drug release, prevent the translation of nanomedicines into therapy. In spite of this, recent efforts have been focused on developing functionalized nanoparticles for delivery of therapeutic agents to specific molecular targets overexpressed on different cancer cells. In particular, the combination of targeted and controlled-release polymer nanotechnologies has resulted in a new programmable nanotherapeutic formulation of docetaxel, namely BIND-014, which recently entered Phase II clinical testing for patients with solid tumors. BIND-014 has been developed to overcome the limitations facing delivery of nanoparticles to many neoplasms, and represents a validated example of targeted nanosystems with the optimal biophysicochemical properties needed for successful tumor eradication.
Keywords: cancer, nanomedicine, targeted nanoparticles, BIND-014
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