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Current Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 0929-8673
ISSN (Online): 1875-533X

Mini-Review Article

Nanoparticles in Combating Cancer: Opportunities and Limitations: A Brief Review

Author(s): Elzbieta Pedziwiatr-Werbicka*, Katarzyna Horodecka, Dzmitry Shcharbin* and Maria Bryszewska

Volume 28, Issue 2, 2021

Published on: 30 January, 2020

Page: [346 - 359] Pages: 14

DOI: 10.2174/0929867327666200130101605


Nanomedicine is a good alternative to traditional methods of cancer treatment but does not solve all the limitations of oncology. Nanoparticles used in anticancer therapy can work as carriers of drugs, nucleic acids, imaging agents or they can sensitize cells to radiation. The present review focuses on the application of nanoparticles to treating cancer, as well as on its problems and limitations. Using nanoparticles as drug carriers, significant improvement in the efficiency of transport of compounds and their targeting directly to the tumour has been achieved; it also reduces the side effects of chemotherapeutic drugs on the body. However, nanoparticles do not significantly improve the effectiveness of the chemotherapeutic agent itself. Most nanodrugs can reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy, but do not significantly affect the effectiveness of treatment. Nanodrugs should be developed that can be effective as an anti-metastatic treatment, e.g. by enhancing the ability of nanoparticles to transport chemotherapeutic loads to sentinel lymph nodes using the immune system and developing chemotherapy in specific metastatic areas. Gene therapy, however, is the most modern method of treating cancer, the cause of cancer being tackled by altering genetic material. Other applications of nanoparticles for radiotherapy and diagnostics are discussed.

Keywords: Nanoparticles, dendrimers, liposomes, micelles, carbon nanotubes, quantum dots, cancer, nanomedicine.

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