Among the greatest challenges facing modern medicine is the problem of administering targeted, potent therapeutics to the desired tissues. Selectively treating the diseased cells, while sparing the healthy ones, would greatly diminish side effects or dosing problems, but it has been only recently that new strategies have emerged that are capable of achieving these effects. One promising strategy is the use of nanotechnology to miniaturize drug delivery systems into so-called nanotherapeutics.
In general, the development of new nanotherapies must address four key challenges. The first is the overall design of the system. Nanotherapeutics must be relatively stable, non-toxic, biocompatible, and multifunctional, capable of encapsulating or incorporating their drug payloads. Second, nanotherapeutics require some way to target their intended cells or receptors, thus concentrating at their intended site within the body. Third, once localized to their targets, the delivery system needs a way to release the drugs or diagnostic molecules in a controlled fashion. And finally, after their payloads are successfully delivered, the system must have a way to be cleared from the body to avoid concerns over long-term exposure.
In this virtual issue of Advanced Healthcare Materials, we highlight some of the recent reports and developments in these four nanotherapeutic features, showcasing how chemistry, nanotechnology, and materials science combine at the small scale to benefit medicine at large. All articles are currently freely available for everybody to access, download, and read until the end of 2018.
Helena Knopf-Marques, Martin Pravda, Lucie Wolfova, Vladimir Velebny, Pierre Schaaf, Nihal Engin Vrana and Philippe Lavalle
Ana Catarina Lima, Carmen Alvarez-Lorenzo and João F. Mano
Yong Yu, Beverly Y. L. Mok, Xian Jun Loh and Yen Nee Tan
Original research articles:
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