Cancer targeted nanoparticles specifically induce apoptosis in cancer cells and spare normal cells

Jagat R. Kanwar, Rupinder K. Kanwar, Ganesh Mahidhara, Chun Hei Antonio Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Curing cancer is the greatest challenge for modern medicine and finding ways to minimize the adverse effects caused by chemotherapeutic agents is of importance in improving patient's physical conditions. Traditionally, chemotherapy can induce various adverse effects, and these effects are mostly caused by the non-target specific properties of the chemotherapeutic compounds. Recently, the use of nanoparticles has been found to be capable of minimizing these drug-induced adverse effects in animals and in patients during cancer treatment. The use of nanoparticles allows various chemotherapeutic drugs to be targeted to cancer cells with lower dosages. In addition to this, the use of nanoparticles also allows various drugs to be administered to the subjects by an oral route. Here, locked nucleic acid (LNA)-modified epithelial cell adhesion molecules (EpCAM), aptamers (RNA nucleotide), and nucleolin (DNA nucleotide) aptamers have been developed and conjugated on anti-cancer drug-loaded nanocarriers for specific delivery to cancer cells and spare normal cells. Significant amounts of the drug loaded nanocarriers (92±6%) were found to distribute to the cancer cells at the tumour site and more interestingly, normal cells were unaffected in vitro and in vivo. In this review, the benefits of using nanoparticle-coated drugs in various cancer treatments are discussed. Various nanoparticles that have been tried in improving the target specificity and potency of chemotherapeutic compounds are also described. Journal compilation

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-14
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)


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