Nanotechnology as a drug delivery in Cancer Treatment
What is Cancer ?
Cancer is a leading cause of death and remains a difficult disease to treat. It was estimated that there would be 18.1 million new cancer cases and 9.6 million cancer-related deaths by 2018 (Global cancer statistics 2018). Besides, cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell proliferation that spreads to other parts of the organs to cause death. Moreover, cancers can be either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign means tend to grow slowly and do not spread to other organs meanwhile malignant can grow rapidly, invade and destroy nearby healthy tissues, and spread to whole parts of the body. Therefore, current technology as nanotechnology are being used to treat cancer.
How Does Nanotechnology as a Drug Delivery?
A nanotechnology is a great tool in the fight against cancer. It is safer and more precise. This application has led to several promising results in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Not only that, it includes drug delivery, gene therapy, detection and diagnosis, drug carriage, biomarker mapping, targeted therapy, and molecular imaging.
The nanotechnology cancer treatments work to destroy cancer tumors with minimal damage to healthy tissue and organs, as well as the detection and elimination of cancer cells before they form tumors.
However, nanotechnology diagnoses and treats disease at a very tiny scale. Frankly, the particles are 100 to 10,000 times smaller than human cells. Because of their small size, they can locate and kill cancer more precisely than current cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. However, many drugs are insoluble, so it difficult to administer. These compounds can be “solubilize” by combining them with organic or lipid nanoparticles, which keep them in circulation for longer periods, or by forming them into crystalline Nano suspensions stabilized by surfactants.
Nanotechnology treatments, for instance, the development of nanoscale drug delivery, can ensure precise cancerous tissue targeting with low side effects. Thus, it can easily cross the cell barrier due to its biological nature.
The tiny size of nanoparticles allows them to deliver medicines into which areas of the part of the human body that be hard to reach. For instance, the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier prevents foreign substances from entering into the brain and also prevents some medications from being absorbed. As a result of their small size, nanoparticles can pass through this barrier, making them a useful treatment for brain cancer.
Nanotechnology Tools Used in Cancer Diagnosis
Nanotechnology can validate cancer imaging at the tissue, cell, and molecular levels, according to current research. Its use in the development of nanomaterials, which include the following:
- Near Infrared (NIR) Quantum Dots
- Colloidal Gold Nanoparticles
Is Nanotechnology Now in Use?
Nanotechnology has been used for more than a decade by doctors to treat cancer. For instance, abraxane and doxil, aid in the efficacy of chemotherapy drugs.
Abraxane is a nanoparticle made of the protein albumin and the chemotherapy drug docetaxel. It inhibits the division of cancer cells. Furthermore, this medication to treat breast cancer and pancreatic cancer that already spread to other parts of the body and non-small-cell lung cancer.
Doxil known as doxorubicin will wrap in a liposome, which is a fatty sac. It disrupts cancer genes, preventing cancer cells from dividing. This drug use to treat cancers of the ovary, multiple myeloma, and Kaposi’s sarcoma.
Does Nanotechnology for Cancer Have Side Effects?
Nanotechnology more precisely targets cancer cells while sparing healthy tissues. However, nanotechnology drugs may have fewer side effects than chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In the case of nanotechnology-based treatments, abraxane and doxil do cause side effects which are weight loss, nausea, and diarrhea.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Raihan Ridzuan, Bachelor of Science (Hons) Pharmacology, is staff officer of Mayflax, one of the nation’s leading healthcare and marketing company.