Chapter 3

Nanotechnology in Cancer Theranostics

Asmaa Mostafa and Matthias Bartneck

Abstract

Our immune system protects our body from a large number of threats. External threats include pathogens from various sources. Internally, the cells of our immune system continuously fight cancer cells and thereby prevent tumor development. Immunotherapies which employ monoclonal antibodies have significantly enriched our vision of cancer treatment. Unleashing the checkpoint blockade of tumors mobilizes the cytotoxic T cells to eliminate cancer cells, and therefore, amplifies the anti-tumor response of the immune system. The lymphoid immune cells, particularly cytotoxic CD8 T cells, are the current focus of novel interventions such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) engineered T cells. Nanomedicines are predestined to target macrophages due to their high phagocytic activity and their large numbers in different types of tumors. Specifically, nanomedical formulations might additionally explore the potential of modulating macrophages as key effector cell which can influence the tumor microenvironment. The therapeutic cargo to be delivered to cells or tissues can benefit from the “Omics” sciences and use knowledge to specifically modulate gene expression and protein generation using small non-coding RNA. Strategies to localize drug delivery have the potential to enrich nanomedicines for their potential ability to be concentrated in certain parts of the body. Such applications can rely, for instance, on magnetic fields or infrared light sensitive systems, in order to increase target specificity. Here, we put an emphasis on the applicability of the strategies to improve target specific accumulation of theranostics and discuss potential improvements of cancer immunotherapies.

Total Pages: 47-81 (35)

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