Highly targeted therapies can be devised to treat a variety of cancers, specifically acting on the mutated genes causing tumor growth. One challenge with such techniques is delivering the therapy to the interior of the cancer cell, when enzymes in the blood can actively break down the therapeutic molecules or when delivery to healthy cells can cause toxicity. Nanoparticle carrier molecules can solve this problem by containing the payload and delivering it directly to the cancer cell.
The first successful clinical application of nanotechnology was the use of a nanoparticle container to deliver a drug to a tumour. That basic strategy of using a nanoparticle to carry a treatment or indicator molecule has a lot of potential, but requires continued research to determine the therapeutic effectiveness and potential toxicity of each container and payload combination. DLVR Therapeutics and Merrimack Pharmaceuticals focus on the development of nanotechnology-based chemotherapeutic and imaging agents.
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