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Nanoparticles in Medicine



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nature publishing group TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE Nanoparticles in Medicine Therapeutic Applications and Developments L Zhang1 FX Gu1 JM Chan2 AZ Wang3 4 RS Langer1 and OC Farokhzad4 Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter generally in the 1 100 nm dimension range The application of nanotechnology to medicine known as nanomedicine concerns the use of precisely engineered materials at this length scale to develop novel therapeutic and diagnostic modalities 1 2 Nanomaterials have unique physicochemical properties such as ultra small size large surface area to mass ratio and high reactivity which are different from bulk materials of the same composition These properties can be used to overcome some of the limitations found in traditional therapeutic and diagnostic agents water soluble drugs prolongs the half life of drug systemic circulation by reducing immunogenicity releases drugs at a sustained rate or in an environmentally responsive manner and thus lowers the frequency of administration delivers drugs in a target manner to minimize systemic side effects and delivers two or more drugs simultaneously for combination therapy to generate a synergistic effect and suppress drug resistance As a result a few pioneering nanoparticle based therapeutic products have been introduced into the pharmaceutical market and numerous ensuing products are currently under clinical testing or are entering the pipeline The use of materials in nanoscale provides unparallel freedom to modify fundamental properties such as solubility diffusivity blood circulation half life drug release characteristics and immunogenicity In the last two decades a number of nanoparticle based therapeutic and diagnostic agents have been developed for the treatment of cancer diabetes pain asthma allergy infections and so on 3 4 These nanoscale agents may provide more effective and or more convenient routes of administration lower therapeutic toxicity extend the product life cycle and ultimately



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