Advantages of Nanoparticles Over Conventional Dosage in Cancer Treatment

Published on 30 Nov, 2015

Nano-particles Technology Research

Over the past several decades, the development and application of engineered nanoparticles to more effectively treat cancer have witnessed significant advancements.

We expect precisely engineered nanoparticles to emerge as the next-generation platform for site-specific cancer therapy and several other biomedical applications.

Conventional Drug Delivery Systems Have Some Significant Disadvantages

  • Drug resistance
  • Lack of selectivity
  • Lack of drug solubility
  • Dynamic changes of cancer cells
  • Serious side effects of chemotherapy
  • Poor targeting of heterogenic tumours
  • Small amount of drug reaches the cancer cells
  • Nonspecific targeting of conventional delivery
  • Inability of the drug to enter the core of tumours, resulting in impaired treatment with reduced dose and low survival rate

Nanoparticles show tremendous promise in their ability to selectively target cancer cells without significantly damaging healthy tissues. Drug-loaded nanoparticles evade the efflux mechanism and maintain high concentration within tumour cells, thereby avoiding the development of resistance.

Nanoparticle-based Drug Delivery Systems are Superior in Many Ways

  • Entry into tissues at the molecular level
  • Increased drug localisation and cellular uptake
  • Cancer diagnosis and treatment applications
  • Feasibility to programme nanoparticles for recognising cancerous cells
  • Selective and accurate drug delivery, and avoiding interaction with healthy cells
  • Direct and selective targeting of the drug to cancerous cells (both active and passive targeting)
  • Larger surface area with modifiable optical, electronic, magnetic and biologic properties vis-à vis macroparticles
  • Assisting therapeutic agents to pass through biologic barriers, mediate molecular interactions and identify molecular changes

Nanoparticles have been modified and enhanced to enable the delivery of drugs across the blood–brain barrier (BBB) as well as improved upon to create polyethylene glycol (PEG) modified (PEGylated) nanoparticles with a prolonged blood circulation time. Targeting ligands (such as small organic molecules, peptides, antibodies and nucleic acids) have been added to the surface of nanoparticles to specifically target cancerous cells by selectively binding to the receptors over-expressed on their surface.

Multiple types of therapeutic drugs and/or diagnostic agents (such as contrast agents) could be delivered using the same carrier to enable combination therapy to overcome multidrug resistance and achieve real-time determination of treatment efficacy.

For more information about the use of Nanoparticles and their applications in cancer treatment, check out our report on Nanoparticle Drug Delivery Systems for Cancer Treatment.