Delivering the Goods, Bringing the Heat

Nanoparticles Show Their Mettle as Platforms for Theranostic Imaging, Targeted Drug Delivery, and Photothermal Therapy

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Delivering the Goods, Bringing the Heat

When we battle disease, we need options other than brute force. We need precision weapons. And for many therapeutic applications, the precision weapons of choice are functionalized nanoparticles.

In modern medicine, as in modern warfare, the idea is to apply the necessary force—no more, no less—and to do so only when and where necessary. Now, the necessary force may be a flow of therapeutic molecules or a surge of thermal energy. In either case, it can be meted out by nanoparticles. Moreover, the nanoparticles may be equipped with the functional equivalents of camouflage, shielding, and target acquisition systems. The results? More loiter time and less collateral damage.

Nanoparticles may also perform reconnaissance and elevate command and control. Both capabilities involve communications of some sort. For example, fluorescence, magnetic, and light-scattering technology may enable reporting and imaging. In addition, targeted electromagnetic energy may be used to trigger therapeutic release or power thermal ablation.

All of these possibilities are discussed in this eBook. For example, it presents a Fortis Life Sciences white paper that cites advances in the use of silica and metal-based nanoparticles to improve therapeutic delivery and enable novel photothermal treatments. Summarizing the findings of 16 peer-reviewed articles, the white paper feels almost as comprehensive as a nanoparticle catalog. (For an actual catalog—one that includes solid nanoparticles, microporous nanoparticles, nanoshells, layered nanoparticles, and more—visit nanocomposix.com/collections/all.)

Besides describing the depth and scope of the existing nanoparticle arsenal, this eBook presents a range of next-generation nanoparticle developments. Specifically, five articles from GEN suggest how nanoparticle design is becoming so sophisticated it may soon qualify as “personalizable.”

For example, one article describes “smart transformable nanoparticles.” These are nanoparticles that can alter their size and shape (and hence, their functionality) upon stimulation from their surrounding environment. Another article describes a fluorescence quenching assay that can assess the integrity of the cell membrane coatings that can give nanoparticles biomimetic properties. (Such properties include the ability to pass as human immune cells.) Yet another paper describes how the self-assembly of plasmonic gold nanoparticles can be induced in targeted cells, specifically, cancer cells.

Overall, this eBook locates nanoparticles in the current order of battle. The battle in question is, of course, the battle between medical science and disease. Although disease is a formidable and shifty foe, medical science is poised to make good use of nanoparticles, especially now that nanoparticles are becoming more configurable, targetable, and even personalizable.

 

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