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Delivering Chemotherapy

New technologies for molecular and functional analysis of single cells are being used to interrogate tumor and immune cells and elucidate molecular indicators and functional immune responses to therapy. This scanning electron microscope image shows dendritic cells, pseudo-colored in green, interacting with T cells, pseudo-colored in pink. The dendritic cells internalize the particles, process the antigens, and present peptides to T cells to direct immune responses. Nanotechnologies are also being investigated to deliver immunotherapy.

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This includes use of nanoparticles for delivery of immunostimulatory or immunomodulatory molecules in combination with chemo- or radiotherapy or as adjuvants to other immunotherapies. Standalone nanoparticle vaccines are also being designed to raise sufficient T cell response to eradicate tumors, through co-delivery of antigen and adjuvant, the inclusion of multiple antigens to stimulate multiple dendritic cell targets, and continuous release of antigens for prolonged immune stimulation.

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Molecular blockers of immune-suppressive factors produced can also be co-encapsulated in nanoparticle vaccines to alter the immune context of tumors and improve response, an approach being pursued in the Nano Approaches to Modulate Host Cell Response for Cancer Therapy Center at UNC. Additional uses of nanotechnology for immunotherapy include immune depots placed in or near tumors for in situ vaccination and artificial antigen presenting cells.


These and other approaches will advance and be refined as our understanding of cancer immunotherapy deepens. Depiction of the complex pathway involved in cancer immunotherapy.

Nanoparticle delivery vehicles can play a role at multiple points along this pathway. Roughly half of all cancer patients receive some form of radiation therapy over the course of their treatment. Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells.

Drug and Gene Delivery | University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA inducing cellular apoptosis. Radiation therapy can either damage DNA directly or create charged particles atoms with an odd or unpaired number of electrons within the cells that can in turn damage the DNA. Most types of radiation used for cancer treatment utilize X-rays, gamma rays, and charged particles. As such, they are inherently toxic to all cells, not just cancer cells, and are given in doses that are as efficacious as possible while not being too harmful to the body or fatal.

Because of this tradeoff between efficacy and safety relative to tumor type, location, and stage, often the efficacy of treatment must remain at reduced levels in order to not be overtly toxic to surrounding tissue or organs near the tumor mass. More specifically, most of these nanotechnology platforms rely on the interaction between X-rays and nanoparticles due to inherent atomic level properties of the materials used. These include high-Z atomic number nanoparticles that enhance the Compton and photoelectric effects of conventional radiation therapy. In essence, increasing efficacy while maintaining the current radiotherapy dosage and its subsequent toxicity to the surrounding tissue.

Other platforms utilize X-ray triggered drug-releasing nanoparticles that deliver drug locally at tumor site or to sensitize the cancer cells to radiotherapy in combination with the drug. Another type of therapy that relies upon external electromagnetic radiation is photodynamic therapy PDT. It is an effective anticancer procedure for superficial tumor that relies on tumor localization of a photosensitizer followed by light activation to generate cytotoxic reactive oxygen species ROS.

Several nanomaterials platforms are being researched to this end. Often made of a lanthanide- or hafnium-doped high-Z core, once injected these can be externally irradiated by X-rays allowing the nanoparticle core to emit the visible light photons locally at the tumor site. Emission of photons from the particles subsequently activate a nanoparticle-bound or local photosensitizer to generate singlet oxygen 1O2 ROS for tumor destruction. Although many of these platforms are initially being studied in vivo by intratumoral injection for superficial tumor sites, some are being tested for delivery via systemic injection to deep tissue tumors.

The primary benefits to the patient would be local delivery of PDT to deep tissue tumor targets, an alternative therapy for cancer cells that have become radiotherapy resistant, and reduction in toxicity e. Finally, other platforms utilize a form Cherenkov radiation to a similar end, of local photon emission to utilize as a trigger for local PDT. These can be utilized for deep-tissue targets as well.

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The value of nanomaterial-based delivery has become apparent for new types of therapeutics such as those using nucleic acids, which are highly unstable in systemic circulation and sensitive to degradation. Gene silencing therapeutics, siRNAs, have been reported to have significantly extended half-lives when delivered either encapsulated or conjugated to the surface of nanoparticles. Additionally, the increased stability of genetic therapies delivered by nanocarriers, and often combined with controlled release, has been shown to prolong their effects.

Members of the Alliance are exploring nanotechnology-based delivery of nucleic acids as effective treatment strategies for a variety of cancers.

Nanomedicines and Biomedical Engineering

In particular, the Nucleic Acid-Based Nanoconstructs for the Treatment of Cancer Center at Northwestern University is focused on the design and characterization of spherical nucleic acids for the delivery of RNA therapeutics to treat brain and prostate cancers. Among the Innovative Research in Cancer Nanotechnology awardees, the Ohio State project Guo , is focused on systematic characterization of in vitro and in vivo RNA nanoparticle behavior for optimized delivery of siRNA to tumor cells, as well as cancer immunotherapeutics. Contact NSDB. Menu Search. Benefits of Nanotechnology.

Current Treatments. Safety of Nanotechnology. Carbon nanotubes have become most fascinating material to be studied and unveil new avenues in the field of nanobiotechnology.

Size and Shape Effect on Biomedical Applications of Nanomaterials

The nanometer size and high aspect ratio of the CNTs are the two distinct features, which have contributed to diverse biomedical applications. They have captured the attention as nanoscale materials due to their nanometric structure and remarkable list of superlative and extravagant properties that encouraged their exploitation for promising applications.

Functionalized CNTs have been used in drug targeting, imaging, and in the efficient delivery of gene and nucleic acids. CNTs have also demonstrated great potential in diverse biomedical uses like drug targeting, imaging, cancer treatment, tissue regeneration, diagnostics, biosensing, genetic engineering and so forth. The present review highlights the possible potential of CNTs in diagnostics, imaging and targeted delivery of bioactives and also outlines the future opportunities for biomedical applications.

Road, Moga, , Punjab, India. Abstract: The convergence of nano and biotechnology is enabling scientific and technical knowledge for improving human well being. Journal Name: Current Drug Delivery. Volume 13 , Issue 6 , Journal Home.