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Nanomedicine (Lond). 2012 Apr;7(4):597-615. doi: 10.2217/nnm.12.22.

Cancer stem cells and drug resistance: the potential of nanomedicine.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Center for Drug Delivery & Nanomedicine, College of Pharmacy, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-6025, USA. vinograd@unmc.edu

Abstract

Properties of the small group of cancer cells called tumor-initiating or cancer stem cells (CSCs) involved in drug resistance, metastasis and relapse of cancers can significantly affect tumor therapy. Importantly, tumor drug resistance seems to be closely related to many intrinsic or acquired properties of CSCs, such as quiescence, specific morphology, DNA repair ability and overexpression of antiapoptotic proteins, drug efflux transporters and detoxifying enzymes. The specific microenvironment (niche) and hypoxic stability provide additional protection against anticancer therapy for CSCs. Thus, CSC-focused therapy is destined to form the core of any effective anticancer strategy. Nanomedicine has great potential in the development of CSC-targeting drugs, controlled drug delivery and release, and the design of novel gene-specific drugs and diagnostic modalities. This review is focused on tumor drug resistance-related properties of CSCs and describes current nanomedicine approaches, which could form the basis of novel combination therapies for eliminating metastatic and CSCs.

PMID:
22471722
PMCID:
PMC3376090
DOI:
10.2217/nnm.12.22
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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