Nanotheranostics Targeting the Tumor Microenvironment

Roma-Rodrigues, Catarina, Inês Pombo, Luís Raposo, Pedro Pedrosa, Alexandra R. Fernandes, and Pedro V. Baptista. "Nanotheranostics Targeting the Tumor Microenvironment." Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 7 (2019): 197.


Cancer is considered the most aggressive malignancy to humans, and definitely the major cause of death worldwide. Despite the different and heterogenous presentation of the disease, there are pivotal cell elements involved in proliferation, differentiation, and immortalization, and ultimately the capability to evade treatment strategies. This is of utmost relevance when we are just beginning to grasp the complexity of the tumor environment and the molecular “evolution” within. The tumor micro-environment (TME) is thought to provide for differentiation niches for clonal development that results in tremendous cancer heterogeneity. To date, conventional cancer therapeutic strategies against cancer are failing to tackle the intricate interplay of actors within the TME. Nanomedicine has been proposing innovative strategies to tackle this TME and the cancer cells that simultaneously provide for biodistribution and/or assessment of action. These nanotheranostics systems are usually multi-functional nanosystems capable to carry and deliver active cargo to the site of interest and provide diagnostics capability, enabling early detection, and destruction of cancer cells in a more selective way. Some of the most promising multifunctional nanosystems are based on gold nanoparticles, whose physic-chemical properties have prompt for the development of multifunctional, responsive nanomedicines suitable for combinatory therapy and theranostics. Herein, we shall focus on the recent developments relying on the properties of gold nanoparticles as the basis for nanotheranostics systems against the heterogeneity within the TME.



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