Targeting cancer cells using nanoparticles
What is it about?
This open-access review paper describes various types of liposome nanoparticles that have been used to encapsulate chemotherapy drugs, enabling them to target cancer cells.
Why is it important?
Cancer is a life-threatening disease contributing to ~3.4 million deaths annually worldwide. The main clinical failure of chemotherapy drugs is that they are administered systemically (all around the body) and a low concentration is delivered to the target cancer site. Increasing the dose only exposes normal cells to the cytotoxic drug causing harmful side effects. Encapsulation of anti-cancer drugs within nanoparticles is a powerful method of making targeted delivery of the therapeutic agent to the cancer cells. Liposomes are a type of nanoparticle that are particularly easy to produce, to functionalise and can be made small enough to take drugs across the blood-brain-barrier, which prevents many potential drugs from reaching the brain to treat brain tumours.
The following have contributed to this page: Dr James R Smith