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Targeted drug delivery

Targeted drug delivery approaches

Nanomedicine is one of the most likely and advanced approaches in the development of cutting-edge cancer treatment. Cancer therapy is a very broad medical field with various treatment approaches. One possibility is the usage of nanoparticles. They can kill tumor cells either directly (e.g., via oxidative stress or DNA damage), or they act as carriers for anti-tumor agents. Using such a nanocarrier approach enables therapeutic agents to infiltrate efficiently and exclusively into tumor tissue via passive or active targeting resulting in diminished side effects in normal tissue.

Targeted drug delivery is a promising approach for cancer treatment that has the potential to improve the efficiency and safety of chemotherapy. While there are still challenges to overcome, such as ensuring the safety and effectiveness of these materials, targeted drug delivery has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment and improve the lives of millions of people. In this technique, it uses nanoparticles to deliver drugs directly to specific cells or tissues in the body, such as cancer cells. This approach has several advantages over traditional drug delivery methods, including increased drug ability, reduced side effects, and improved patient outcomes.

Selective targeting: Nanoparticles can be designed to selectively target cancer cells by attaching targeting molecules to their surface, such as antibodies or peptides. These targeting molecules recognize and bind to specific proteins or receptors that are overexpressed on the surface of cancer cells, enabling the nanoparticles to deliver drugs directly to the tumor.

Controlled release: Once the nanoparticles have reached the tumor, they can release the drugs in a controlled manner, providing sustained drug release over a longer period. This reduces the frequency of drug administration and minimizes toxic side effects.

Increased drug efficacy: Targeted drug delivery can increase the efficacy of cancer treatment by delivering drugs directly to the tumor, where they are needed most. This approach can also reduce the drug dose required to achieve the desired effect, reducing the risk of toxicity and side effects.

Improved patient outcomes: Targeted drug delivery can improve patient outcomes by reducing the likelihood of drug resistance and improving the overall response to treatment. This approach can also improve the quality of life for cancer patients by reducing the side effects of chemotherapy.

Nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery

Nanoparticles are used in targeted drug delivery because of their unique properties, such as their small size, large surface area, and ability to encapsulate a variety of drugs. nanoparticles offer many advantages for drug delivery, including improved drug efficacy, reduced side effects, and targeted drug delivery. While there are still challenges to overcome, such as ensuring the safety and effectiveness of these materials, nanoparticle-based drug delivery has the potential to revolutionize medicine and improve the lives of millions of people.


Liposomes: Liposomes are spherical particles made up of a phospholipid bilayer that can encapsulate both hydrophilic and hydrophobic drugs. They can also be modified with targeting molecules to selectively deliver drugs to specific cells or tissues.


i.e., To achieve true targeted delivery, liposomes must be modified on their surface with an agent that confers specificity. One possible approach is the conjugation of glycoproteins, antibodies, antibody fragments, or single-chain antibodies to the liposomal surface.

Polymeric nanoparticles are made up of biodegradable polymers and can be designed to release drugs in a controlled manner. As well Dendrimers are branched, tree-like molecules that can encapsulate drugs and release them in a controlled manner. They can also be modified with targeting molecules to improve their specificity and effectiveness.

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs): are cylindrical structures made up of carbon atoms that can be functionalized with drugs and targeting molecules. They have a high surface area and can penetrate cell membranes, making them useful for intracellular drug delivery. They have been studied for their potential use in cancer treatment. These tiny tubes made of carbon atoms have unique properties that make them attractive for medical applications. CNTs can be used to target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. By attaching CNTs that bind specifically to cancer cells, one can detect the presence of cancer cells in the body. Even though CNTs have shown promise in laboratory studies, more research is needed to determine their safety and effectiveness in humans before they can be used in cancer treatment.

Gold nanoparticles (Au NPs): Gold nanoparticles can be used to deliver drugs and imaging agents, as they have unique optical and electronic properties. They can also be modified with targeting molecules to improve their specificity and efficacy.

They have the potential to improve the effectiveness of cancer treatment and reduce its side effects. While there are still challenges to overcome, such as ensuring the safety and efficacy of these materials, gold nanoparticles offer a promising approach for cancer treatment that could revolutionize medicine and improve the lives of millions of people. Specifically, Functionalized Au NPs exhibit good biocompatibility and controllable biodistribution patterns, which make them particularly fine candidates for the basis of innovative therapies. They are stable, nonimmunogenic and low toxicity in vivo. In addition, they can accumulate in the tumor sites due to the EPR effect so they are attractive in imaging diagnosis.

In targeted drug delivery, Au NPs can be functionalized with targeting molecules, such as antibodies or peptides, that recognize and bind to specific proteins or receptors on the surface of cancer cells. Once bound, the nanoparticles can deliver drugs directly to the tumor, increasing drug efficacy and reducing side effects.

As well in photothermal therapy, Au NPs are activated by light, causing them to generate heat and destroy cancer cells while avoiding damage to other tissues. This approach is particularly effective for solid tumors, where the nanoparticles can be injected directly into the tumor and activated using a laser. After being irradiated by light, the Au plasmonic nanoparticles are delivered to the tumor cells, where the absorbed light is converted into heat, causing irreversible damage to the surrounding pathological tissues.

Au NPs can be used as imaging agents to detect and diagnose cancer. They have unique optical properties that allow them to be detected using various imaging techniques, such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It also enhances the effectiveness of radiotherapy by acting as radiation sensitizers. They can increase the absorption of radiation by cancer cells, leading to increased cancer cell death and improved patient outcomes.


References


Nanomedicine review: clinical developments in liposomal applications


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