Multi-functional polymeric nanoparticles for tumour-targeted drug delivery

Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2006 Mar;3(2):205-16. doi: 10.1517/17425247.3.2.205.


The use of nanoparticles as drug delivery vehicles for anticancer therapeutics has great potential to revolutionise the future of cancer therapy. As tumour architecture causes nanoparticles to preferentially accumulate at the tumour site, their use as drug delivery vectors results in the localisation of a greater amount of the drug load at the tumour site; thus improving cancer therapy and reducing the harmful nonspecific side effects of chemotherapeutics. In addition, formulation of these nanoparticles with imaging contrast agents provides a very efficient system for cancer diagnostics. Given the exhaustive possibilities available to polymeric nanoparticle chemistry, research has quickly been directed at multi-functional nanoparticles, combining tumour targeting, tumour therapy and tumour imaging in an all-in-one system, providing a useful multi-modal approach in the battle against cancer. This review will discuss the properties of nanoparticles that allow for such multiple functionality, as well as recent scientific advances in the area of multi-functional nanoparticles for cancer therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Carriers*
  • Ferrosoferric Oxide / chemistry
  • Gadolinium / chemistry
  • Gold / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Nanostructures*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Polymers / administration & dosage
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Quantum Dots
  • Silicon Dioxide / chemistry


  • Drug Carriers
  • Polymers
  • Gold
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Gadolinium
  • Ferrosoferric Oxide