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Nanotechnology: A Therapeutic Option for Breast Cancer

What is Nanotechnology and How Does It Relate to Cancer?

Nanotechnology is the utilization and control of matter at an atomic or molecular level. In fact, they are comparative in size to large biomolecules such as enzymes and receptors. Nanoscale devices can easily enter most cells, and some can even move out of blood vessels while circulating the body.

Nanotechnology as a Form of Cancer Treatment

Because of their easy access to many areas of the body, nanoscale devices have demonstrated potential in detecting diseases and delivering treatments. Due to these remarkable attributes, researchers have been examining the manner in which nanotechnology can be utilized in cancer treatment, and have published studies showing that it is an “emerging therapeutic option for breast cancer”.

These studies mention that nanotechnology has been providing promising use in chemotherapy as it deals with physical and biochemical properties of nanoparticles in the clinical application of drugs. Its role in the treatment would be to reduce the side effects of drugs that fight off cancer cells while diminishing consumption and treatment expenses. The small size as well as the coating of nanoparticles eases the delivery of hydrophobic anticancer drugs to targeted sites with reduced opsonization—the immune process which uses molecules that enhance phagocytosis (opsonins) to label foreign pathogens for elimination by phagocytes. Because of this, nanoparticles have been developed to target metastasized tumors of the breast. They may improve chemotherapy by focusing on medications to tumors, creating high medication concentrations at tumors giving moderate release of the medication, expanded medication stability and corresponding decreases in side effects.

Biological processes happen at the nanoscale. Hence, we are made out of a big number of organic nano-machines. Nanotechnology gives scientists the chance to contemplate and control macromolecules progressively and during the earliest phases of cancer progression. Nanotechnology can give rapid and delicate recognition of cancer-related particles, allowing researchers to detect atomic and molecular changes even when they occur in a small percentage of cells. Nanotechnology likewise can possibly create completely novel and profoundly compelling remedial agents.

Current Nanotechnology Treatments

In recent years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved various Investigational New Drug (IND) applications for nanoparticle material, allowing clinical trials for breast, gynecological, solid tumor, lung, mesenchymal tissue, lymphoma, central nervous system and genito-urinary cancer treatments. Here are some examples:

  1. Abraxane®: This product uses nanoparticle-bound albumins in its drug Paclitaxel to create a treatment to target breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and non-small-cell lung cancer.

  2. Doxil®: Doxil® uses liposomes in its drug Doxorubicin to create a treatment that targets Kaposi's sarcome, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and multiple myeloma.

  3. Oncaspar®: Oncaspar® uses polymer protein conjugates to target leukaemia in its drug L-asparaginase.

  4. Onivyde®: In its drug Irinotecan, Onivyde® uses liposomes to target pancreatic cancer.

  5. NanoTherm®: This product uses iron oxide nanoparticles to target thermal ablation glioblastoma.

  6. Myocet®: Myocet® uses liposomes in its drug doxorubicin to target breast cancer.

End Points

Ultimately, nanotechnology is a quickly growing area of research with a lot of potential in numerous areas, going from medical services to development and gadgets. In medicine, it could change drug delivery, gene therapy, diagnostics, and numerous areas of research. It will radically change the way we diagnose, treat and prevent cancer to help meet the goal of eliminating suffering caused by the disease. Its future is bright, and the research is only continuing to grow.


Benefits of Nanotechnology for Cancer. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/nano/cancer-nanotechnology/benefits

Du, M., Ouyang, Y., Meng, F., Ma, Q., Liu, H., Zhuang, Y., Pang, M., Cai, T., & Cai, Y. (2019). Nanotargeted agents: an emerging therapeutic strategy for breast cancer. Nanomedicine, 14(13), 1771–1786. https://doi.org/10.2217/nnm-2018-0481

Hussain, Z., Khan, J. A., & Murtaza, S. (2018). Nanotechnology: An Emerging Therapeutic Option for Breast Cancer. Critical reviews in eukaryotic gene expression, 28(2), 163–175. https://doi.org/10.1615/CritRevEukaryotGeneExpr.2018022771

Thau L, Asuka E, Mahajan K. (2020). Physiology, Opsonization. “StatPearls Publishing.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534215/

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Article Author: Celine Guirguis

Article Editors: Olivia Ye, Sherilyn Wen