The growing prevalence of nanotechnology in the fields of biology, medicine, and the pharmaceutical industry is confounded by the relatively small amount of data on the impact of these materials on the immune system. In addition to concerns surrounding the potential toxicity of nanoparticle (NP)-based delivery systems, there is also a demand for a better understanding of the mechanisms governing interactions of NPs with the immune system. Nanoparticles can be tailored to suppress, enhance, or subvert recognition by the immune system. This ‘targeted immunomodulation’ can be achieved by delivery of unmodified particles, or by modifying particles to deliver drugs, proteins/peptides, or genes to a specific site. In order to elicit the desired, beneficial immune response, considerations should be made at every step of the design process: the NP platform itself, ligands, and other modifiers, the delivery route, and the immune cells that will encounter the conjugated NPs can all impact host immune responses. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nanotechnology is emerging as a promising modality for cancer treatment; how-ever, in the realm of cancer prevention, its full utility has yet to be determined. Here, we discuss the potential of integrating nanotechnology in cancer prevention to augment early diagnosis, precision targeting and controlled release of chemopreventive agents, reduced toxicity, risk/response assessment, and personalized point-of-care monitoring. Cancer is a multistep, progressive disease; the functional and acquired characteristics of the early precancer phenotype are intrinsically different from those of a more advanced anaplastic or invasive malignancy. Therefore, applying nanotechnology to precancers is likely to be far more challenging than applying it to established disease. Frank cancers are more readily identifiable through imaging and biomarker and histopathologic assessment than their precancerous precursors. In addition, prevention subjects routinely have more rigorous intervention criteria than therapy subjects. Any nanopreventive agent developed to prevent sporadic cancers found in the general population must exhibit a very low risk of serious side effects. In contrast, a greater risk of side effects might be more acceptable in subjects at high risk for cancer. Using nanotechnology to prevent cancer is an aspirational goal, but clearly identifying the intermediate objectives and potential barriers is an essential first step in this exciting journey.
Cancer Prevention Research 07/2014; 7(10). DOI:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0079 · 4.44 Impact Factor
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