The use of engineered nanostructures in biomedical applications and optimized therapy is revolutionising medicine and the way we treat disease. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that cancer is one of the biggest driving forces responsible for development of therapeutic nanotechnologies. The potential for earlier detection and targeted treatment of tumours using nanotechnologies will act not only to reduce the number of cancer deaths but also reduce the side effects and increase the efficacy of treatments.
This review by Zhang et al. examines the recent advances in nanotechnology for targeted drug delivery and controlled drug release in cancer treatment. The focus of the introduction is on inorganic nanostructures, highlighting the advantages of these materials over bioorganic nanomaterials, namely the ease of synthesis, modification and the control of size, shape and surface functionalization can be carried out. All of which allow for the design of materials for specific tissue or cell type targeting, controlled drug delivery and in vivo diagnostic imaging.
The review also covers the mechanisms of systematic targeted drug delivery, stimuli-responsive drug release and biocompatibility of these inorganic nanostructures. Overall, this review gives a clear and varied look at the different technologies under development that I would recommend to many scientists, not just those working in this field.
Chemical modification of inorganic nanostructures for targeted and controlled drug delivery in cancer treatment
Lei Zhang, Yecheng Li and Jimmy C. Yu
J. Mater Chem. B, 2014, 2, 452-470. C3TB21196G
H. L. Parker is a guest web writer for the Journal of Materials Chemistry blog. She currently works at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, the University of York.