Background: Cancer is a foremost cause of mortality worldwide. Available treatments are non-specific
and cannot cross biological barriers, which have restricted their usages. Furthermore, the side effects of existing
treatments have promoted the exploration of nanotechnological approaches to achieve site-specific drug delivery.
The diminutive sizes of nanoparticles, and hence, their large surface to volume ratios, means they are inherently
more efficient at delivering drugs to specific tumor sites. This review highlights different approaches to cancer therapy,
and the importance of nanoparticles in cancer therapy. Applications and limitations of different types of
nanomedicines used for cancer imaging and treatment are discussed.
Methods: We undertook extensive literature search of bibliographic databases (e.g. PubMed, Google Scholar, Medline,
Web of Science etc.) using different keywords and combination of keywords to retrieve the relevant information.
Results: This review provides overview of cancer and need for nanoparticle-based therapies for their treatment, and
deliberates the different types of nanomaterials used as nanomedicines for cancer imaging and treatment in addition
to their applications and limitations. Furthermore, applications of nanoparticles in modern cancer therapies and research
strategies have been explored to overcome cancer.
Conclusion: Nanotechnology has provided a lot of novel therapeutics for the diagnosis and treatment of different
cancers over the last 2-3 decades. However, there are few limitations of nanotechnological based anti-cancer therapies.
Nanotechnology is enabling novel, specialized treatments for cancer; this will be a high-impact area of
nanomedicine yielding more medical advancements with the next 10 years.