About this Research Topic
A burst of basic research in modern materials science has made inorganic compounds applicable in multiple areas of human activity. Among these applications, biomedical use is of the utmost importance because of the unprecedented characteristics that new materials provide in terms of solutions for previously unmet problems. One of these materials is the large molecule, with its particular inner milieu and outer surface, electrical charge, hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity, etc. Such a particle can be functionalized to carry a variety of chemical moieties for recognition of specific biomolecules. Furthermore, their subsequent interactions with biological targets allow for a predictable strength of complex formation that is significant for topical release of the drug entrapped inside the carrier. Alternatively, the particle can be loaded with a fluorescent compound (such as a rare metal for diagnosis or a drug for therapy), which is expected to be delivered to and act at the disease site.
Tumors also represent a clear and relevant model for the use of inorganic materials for theranostics. Success in tumor diagnosis and treatment critically depends on the ratio between the amount of the delivered agent (therefore intratumoral concentration) and its off-target distribution. Broad possibilities for varying the size, shape and elemental content make particles versatile theranostic tools. The particles made of heavy atom metals (gold, hafnium) and filled with a fluorescent dye can serve for tumor diagnosis (due to fluorescence) and treatment (e.g., radio/photosensitization due to capture of photons). The particles of various shapes would differ in their ability to generate photothermal processes that kill the tumor upon light illumination. Along with their cytolytic activity, nanoparticles offer surface enhanced transduction for ultra-potent fingerprint based sensing. Also, plasmonic and magnetic nanomaterials as well as composite radioactive substances with modified functionality are a growing field in tumor recognition and eradication. Furthermore, due to multiple bioorganic and -inorganic compounds in the body the delivery of the drug as a cargo within the nanoparticle should prevent aggregation, a clinically unfavorable phenomenon that can limit the efficacy of otherwise potent agents.
Thus, this Research Topic will cover the latest achievements in various aspects of nanomaterials-based cancer theranostics. Synthetic and mechanistic studies should advance along with development of spectroscopic techniques for detection of cancer cells and therapeutic devices for local retention of magnetic nanoparticles and photothermal therapy. Of special importance is the analysis of practical potential of experimental findings. We welcome contributions in inorganic chemistry, nanobiotechnology, drug design, and cancer research to create new interdisciplinary approaches to combat disease with innovative tools.
Keywords: Nanomedicine, Biocompatible Materials, Cancer, Treatment, Diagnosis
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