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Nanotherapy: Controlled delivery of chemotherapeutics to fight cancer stem cells

September 10, 2019 / Elena Alonso

Chemotherapy is one of the most used treatments against cancer, along with surgery and radiotherapy. In a chemotherapy treatment, one or several drugs are administered to the patient to remove or damage cancer cells. Nevertheless, the treatment has several drawbacks that are hard to overcome, particularly the side effects. In this case, the inherent toxicity of the drugs employed causes a variety of symptoms including weakness, nausea and hair loss. As a result, chemotherapy is far from an ideal approach. In this regard, scientists are trying to improve the efficacy and specificity of chemotherapy using carriers to deliver the drugs only where they are needed. Carriers based on gold nanostructures are excellent candidates for this objective because of their excellent stability, absence of toxicity and ease of modification with several chemical agents. Furthermore, some gold nanostructures, such as nanoclusters, are fluorescent, allowing their use for biotracking and imaging purposes.