Role of Hybrid Nanoplatforms in Drug Discovery

Nanomedicine uses the navigation of nanocarriers via highly complex physiological networks and thus maximizes the delivery of the drug to the target site.

Hybrid nanoplatforms are based on multimodal nanocarriers, which have extraordinary surface functionality and such nanocarriers can enhance treatment activity by boosting the triggered drug release directly at the target site.

Hybrid nanoplatforms in cancer theranostics

The concept of theranostics is based on combining therapy, diagnostics, and imaging modalities in one protocol of cancer treatment. If nanomedicine is combined with theranostics, this is referred to as ‘nanotheranostics’, which makes use of nanoscale characters of nanomaterials like enhanced nanoscale surface functionality and nanoscale physics of contrast enhancement, along with biology to improve diagnosis and treatment of cancer in preclinical and clinical trials. Therefore, it has been a significantly prominent and widely accepted idea by scientists.

The perfect nanocarrier chosen for cancer theranostics should have high tumor accumulation and an improved therapeutic action at the same time. The designed nanocarriers should have the character to modify functionality in various biological environments inside the body.

Stimuli-responsive materials, which are based on hybrid platforms, seem to be promising to achieve this aim. The basic idea of the hybrid nanoplatform is that nanocarriers should have multifunctionality and respond to stimuli either from within the tumor internally or externally.

Moreover, they should have good stability in the blood circulatory system to attain productive passive targeting. The feature of hybrid nanoplatforms to carry many therapeutic agents improves their ability to enhance cancer treatment. Hybrid nanoplatforms based cancer theranostics can integrate the aptitude to diagnose and treat cancers. This exceptional cancer therapy strategy facilitates drug release monitoring and visualization of drugs released in cancer, opening a new era of using hybrid nanoplatforms in personalized treatment.

Next-generation cancer nanotheranostics

Next-generation hybrid nanoplatforms have dual-targeted delivery of therapeutic materials and therapeutic energy like heat. Integrating drug delivery with thermal therapies like photodynamic therapy, photothermal therapy, and magnetic hyperthermia could lead to more effective cancer treatment. The duplex effect of local heating has the ability to manage the amount of drug released and the spatial control of the release.  

Moreover, the increased temperature could improve the efficacy of the drug due to the synergetic thermo-chemo action. Based on these attractive dual modalities of hybrid nanoplatforms, preclinical reports found efficient photothermal damage of primary tumors under MRI-photoacoustic imaging guidance and a hyperthermia-mediated immunostimulatory effect on deep-seated tumors.

The main goal of nanotheranostics is to target the tumor and improve clinical efficacy for a broader therapeutic strategy. One of the main concepts of cancer nanotheranostics is the idea of applying hybrid nanostructures to selectively accumulate at cancer sites.

Different hybrid nanostructures have been designed via combining different surface functionalization strategies like antibodies, ligands, proteins, biomolecules, aptamers, and peptides to have active targeting of tumor cells or microenvironment of tumors.

Next-generation cancer nanotheranostics is based on the integration of in vitro, engineered 3D tumor models or tumor spheroids, ex vivo tumor explants, and various in vivo models to attain favorable results. Remarkable efforts have also been devoted in nanotheranostics to find new tumor cell targeting molecules that also have a synergetic anticancer effect, least immune clearance, as well as controlled release.


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Further Reading

Last Updated: Jan 28, 2021

Dr. Priyom Bose

Written by

Dr. Priyom Bose

Priyom holds a Ph.D. in Plant Biology and Biotechnology from the University of Madras, India. She is an active researcher and an experienced science writer. Priyom has also co-authored several original research articles that have been published in reputed peer-reviewed journals. She is also an avid reader and an amateur photographer.


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