Cancer is a major health problem that affects millions of people worldwide and accounts for a large proportion of deaths every year. Despite the advances in prevention and screening strategies that have been implemented in recent decades, the incidence and mortality rates of cancer are still rising . The conventional treatment options for cancer include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery, which are based on the accurate diagnosis and staging of the disease. However, these methods have several limitations and drawbacks that compromise their efficacy and safety. For instance, chemotherapy and radiotherapy often cause severe side effects , such as nausea, hair loss, fatigue, and immunosuppression, because they do not discriminate between cancerous and normal cells and damage both types of cells indiscriminately. Moreover, many anticancer drugs have poor physicochemical properties, such as low solubility, stability, and bioavailability, which affect their pharmacokinetics and biodistribution in the body. As a result, these drugs may not reach the tumor site in sufficient concentrations or may be rapidly eliminated or metabolized by the body. These challenges lead to reduced therapeutic outcomes, increased toxicity, and drug resistance. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop novel formulations that can overcome these obstacles and deliver anticancer drugs selectively and efficiently to the tumor site without harming the surrounding healthy tissues [3,4,5,6,7,8,9].
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One of the promising approaches to improve the delivery of anticancer drugs is the use of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the science and engineering of materials at the nanoscale (1-100 nm), which is comparable to the size of many biological molecules and structures . Nanomaterials have unique physical, chemical, and biological properties that can be exploited for various biomedical applications, such as imaging, diagnosis, therapy, and drug delivery . Nanoparticles are nanosized particles that can be made of different materials, such as metals, polymers, lipids, or ceramics, and can be functionalized with various ligands, such as antibodies, peptides, or aptamers, to enhance their specificity and targeting ability . Nanoparticles can also encapsulate or conjugate anticancer drugs and protect them from degradation or elimination by the body . Nanoparticles can also enhance the solubility and stability of poorly soluble drugs and increase their permeability and retention in the tumor tissue . Nanoparticles can also modulate the release kinetics of drugs and achieve controlled and sustained drug release . Therefore, nanoparticles can potentially improve the therapeutic efficacy and safety of anticancer drugs by increasing their accumulation in the tumor site and reducing their exposure to healthy tissues.
However, nanoparticles also face several challenges and barriers that limit their clinical translation and application. One of the major challenges is the biological barriers that nanoparticles encounter during their journey from the administration site to the tumor site . These barriers include the opsonization and clearance by the mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS), the extravasation through the blood vessels and the interstitial space, and the penetration into the tumor cells . These barriers depend on various factors, such as the size, shape, charge, surface chemistry, and biodegradability of nanoparticles . Another challenge is the lack of standardized methods for the synthesis, characterization, and evaluation of nanoparticles . The variability in the synthesis conditions and protocols can affect the quality and reproducibility of nanoparticles and their performance in vivo . The characterization and evaluation of nanoparticles also require advanced techniques and methods that can measure their physicochemical properties, biological interactions, pharmacokinetics, biodistribution, biodegradation, toxicity, and efficacy . Moreover, there are ethical, regulatory, and social issues that need to be addressed before nanoparticles can be widely used for human health . These issues include the potential environmental impact of nanoparticles, the safety and efficacy assessment in preclinical and clinical trials, the informed consent and privacy of patients, and the public awareness and acceptance of nanotechnology . Therefore, there is a need for more research and collaboration among different stakeholders to overcome these challenges and barriers and facilitate the development and implementation of nanoparticles for cancer therapy. 0efd9a6b88