Schematic illustrations of the sequence of events after PEG-GNPs and PCB-GNPs enter the blood stream.
Schematic illustrations of the sequence of events after PEG-GNPs and PCB-GNPs enter the blood stream.

Nanoparticle circulation still causes great interest and a good many problems for scientists.

Whilst it is agreed that nanoparticles can provide a solution to some systemic and targeted drug delivery challenges, they are on the whole far from perfect, as keeping nanoparticles in the blood stream for sufficiently long periods still causes a problem.

Our body has evolved finely tuned processes involving innate and adaptive immune systems to remove non-self materials from the body (such as monocytes, platelets, leukocytes, and dendritic cells and phagocytes). So the very drug delivery systems we develop to target a diagnosed medical condition, is more often than not engulfed and eliminated before it can have the desired effect on the patient.

If we can succeed in significantly increasing the circulation time of this important class of nanomaterial [Yang et al. Nanotoday, 9, (2014), 10-16 DOI: 10.1016/j.nantod.2014.02.004] typically 10-12hours plus, then we might see some important advances particularly in cancer care where nanocarriers could target the cancer cells more accurately and over a longer period to ensure effective treatment.

To this day only a few nanocarriers have been approved that are made up of molecules that can selectively bind and target cancer cells. This hasn’t stopped researchers however and new products and methods are constantly being made public for discussion comment and further development.

Without a doubt, currently approved nanoparticle carriers have improved vastly over the past decade, side effects which can often provide an accurate indicator into the overall efficiency of these carriers has in general dropped and effects witnessed seem less severe.

Continued interest and attention in drug discovery systems can only assist in accelerating new research findings which will eventually result in smarter more targeted drug therapies.

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