Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2010 May;7(5):266-76. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2010.38. Epub 2010 Mar 30.

Conscripts of the infinite armada: systemic cancer therapy using nanomaterials.

Author information

Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.


The field of clinical nanomaterials is enlarging steadily, with more than a billion US dollars of funding allocated to research by US government agencies in the past decade. The first generation of anti-cancer agents using novel nanomaterials has successfully entered widespread use. Newer nanomaterials are garnering increasing interest as potential multifunctional therapeutic agents; these drugs are conferred novel properties, by virtue of their size and shape. The new features of these agents could potentially allow increased cancer selectivity, changes in pharmacokinetics, amplification of cytotoxic effects, and simultaneous imaging capabilities. After attachment to cancer target reactive-ligands, which interact with cell-surface antigens or receptors, these new constructs can deliver cytolytic and imaging payloads. The molecules also introduce new challenges for drug development. While nanoscale molecules are of a similar size to proteins, the paradigms for how cells, tissues and organs of the body react to the non-biological materials are not well understood, because most cellular and metabolic processes have evolved to deal with globular, enzyme degradable molecules. We discuss examples of different materials to illustrate interesting principles for development and future applications of these nanomaterial medicines with emphasis on the possible pharmacologic and safety hurdles for accomplishing therapeutic goals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center