Nanomedicine – The role of newer drug delivery technologies in cancer

Document Type: Review

Authors

Sri Venkateshwara College of Pharmacy, Affiliated to Osmania University, Madhapur, Hyderabad, AndhraPradesh, India 500081.

10.7508/ijnd.2011.01.001

Abstract

Nanotechnology has slowly but steadily revolutionized the diagnosis, imaging and treatment of cancer. Detecting cancer at earliest stages, locating the tumor at different areas in the body and specific delivery of the drugs to malignant cells including surgically inaccessible tumors are the core areas of medical and pharmaceutical research across the world. In this endeavour, Nanodevices have emerged as the most important drug delivery devices in the treatment of cancer. Nanoscale devices smaller than 50 nm, can easily enter most cells, while those smaller than 20 nm can transit out of blood vessels. Such small sizes are capable of carrying large number of small molecules in the form of a drug or a contrast agent. These devices can readily interact with biomolecules on both the cell surface and within the cell. The ability of such devices to deliver the therapeutic agents to target cells or within specific organelles is of immense potential in cancer treatment. The major areas in nanomedicine developed in cancer include:      •Prevention and control - developing nanodevices to deliver the   therapeutic agents and design of vaccines.      •Early detection and proteomics- developing new platforms for analysis of cancer-associated markers.   * Corresponding author: Prathima Srinivas Sri Venkateshwara College of Pharmacy, Affiliated to Osmania University, Madhapur, Hyderabad, AndhraPradesh, India Tel +40 23118528 Fax +40 23112798 Email drpssvcp@gmail.com        •Improved Diagnostics-detection of molecular changes occurring in limited number of cells with high sensitivity is another useful feature of these devices. This ensures early detection of cancer which is the most crucial step in arresting the malignant cell growth.      •Imaging diagnostics- designing targeted contrast agents that improve the resolution of cancer to a single cell.      •Multifunctional Therapeutics-creating therapeutic devices that can control the release of anti cancer agents and control their release in order to deliver to the targeted site only.  

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