Nanomedicines as cancer therapeutics: Current status

Sohail Akhter, Iqbal Ahmad, Mohammad Zaki Ahmad, Farshad Ramzani, Anjali Singh, Ziyaur Rahman, Farhan Jalees Ahmad, Gerrit Storm, Robbert J. Kok

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As of 21st century, cancer is arguably the most complex and challenging disease known to mankind and an inevitable public health concern of this millennium. Nanotechnology, suitably amalgamated with cancer research, has ushered an era of highly personalized and safer medicines which can improve cancer diagnosis and therapy. A wide variety of nanomedicines are currently under investigation, including polymeric/non-polymeric nanoparticles, dendrimers, quantum dots, carbon nanotubes, lipid- and micelle-based nanoparticles. The bases of these nanomedicines in reducing toxicity associated with cancer therapy are their ability to carry a large payload and multivalent-ligand targeting. This imparts specificity for targeting the tissues as well as bypass resistance mechanisms. The major hurdles on these future medicines are potential toxicity of nanoparticles, which imposes the need of extensive regulatory evaluation before nanomedicines could be utilized as cancer therapeutics. This review highlights nanopharmaceuticals that have been investigated in oncology for various applications (diagnosis, therapeutic delivery and theranostics). It also discusses the effects of nano-sized materials on tissues/organ functions, the possibility of overcoming multi-drug resistance by using nanomedicines and their current clinical status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-378
JournalCurrent cancer drug targets
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Cancer nanomedicine
  • Multi-drug resistance
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nanotoxicity
  • Regulatory
  • Theranostics

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