Nanosized agents for imaging guided drug delivery


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Simonetta Geninatti Crich1
1University of Torino, Torino, Italy

Abstract

Targeting tumours with systems that combine delivery of drugs and imaging agents within a single formulation, represents one of the most important challenges for the treatment of cancer. In fact, the use of these nanotheranostic agents permit to analyse noninvasively the pharmacokinetic and biodistribution of the nanomedicine formulation by measuring in real time drug concentration in the target organ and thereby by adapting the therapeutic protocol to each patient individually, on the basis of biodistribution and efficacy monitoring. The recent development of more sensitive and high resolution imaging techniques has catalysed exponentially the development of nanosized carriers for both imaging and therapeutic agents characterised by low toxicity and high biocompatibility. Due to its superb spatial resolution, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) seems to be the technique of choice for monitoring drug delivery process and therapeutic output. Lipid-based nanosized particles have been proved to be suitable as carriers for the delivery of several therapeutic agents. Liposomes seem to be good candidates as the payload can be encapsulated in their internal aqueous cavity and/or intercalated in the phospholipid bilayer, thus allowing the transport of both hydrophilic and hydrophobic compounds. Clinical applications of liposomes in the delivery of anticancer agents for the treatment of different solid tumours are well established. A second class of exogenous particles herein considered is made up of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) polymeric nanoparticles that have the advantage to be biodegradable and very well tolerated. Finally, naturally occurring biological nanocarriers such us lipoproteins, apoferritin, or serum albumin are a good alternative for drug delivery with several advantages: i) their metabolic fate is well controlled; ii) they do not cause adverse immunological reactions; iii) they own defined biodistribution routes that may be exploited or modified according to the specificities of the therapeutic needs.