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Targeted Theranostic Nanoparticles for Brain Tumor Treatment

Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal
Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology (CNC), University of Coimbra, 3004-504 Coimbra, Portugal
LAQV, REQUIMTE, Group of Pharmaceutical Technology, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal
Coimbra Chemistry Centre, Department of Chemistry, University of Coimbra, 3004-535 Coimbra, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pharmaceutics 2018, 10(4), 181;
Received: 9 August 2018 / Revised: 21 September 2018 / Accepted: 27 September 2018 / Published: 9 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotheranostics and Cancer: Where Are We Now?)
PDF [6106 KB, uploaded 14 October 2018]


The poor prognosis and rapid recurrence of glioblastoma (GB) are associated to its fast-growing process and invasive nature, which make difficult the complete removal of the cancer infiltrated tissues. Additionally, GB heterogeneity within and between patients demands a patient-focused method of treatment. Thus, the implementation of nanotechnology is an attractive approach considering all anatomic issues of GB, since it will potentially improve brain drug distribution, due to the interaction between the blood–brain barrier and nanoparticles (NPs). In recent years, theranostic techniques have also been proposed and regarded as promising. NPs are advantageous for this application, due to their respective size, easy surface modification and versatility to integrate multiple functional components in one system. The design of nanoparticles focused on therapeutic and diagnostic applications has increased exponentially for the treatment of cancer. This dual approach helps to understand the location of the tumor tissue, the biodistribution of nanoparticles, the progress and efficacy of the treatment, and is highly useful for personalized medicine-based therapeutic interventions. To improve theranostic approaches, different active strategies can be used to modulate the surface of the nanotheranostic particle, including surface markers, proteins, drugs or genes, and take advantage of the characteristics of the microenvironment using stimuli responsive triggers. This review focuses on the different strategies to improve the GB treatment, describing some cell surface markers and their ligands, and reports some strategies, and their efficacy, used in the current research. View Full-Text
Keywords: nanotechnology; glioblastoma; theranostics; gold nanoparticles; lipid nanoparticles; active targeting nanotechnology; glioblastoma; theranostics; gold nanoparticles; lipid nanoparticles; active targeting

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Mendes, M.; Sousa, J.J.; Pais, A.; Vitorino, C. Targeted Theranostic Nanoparticles for Brain Tumor Treatment. Pharmaceutics 2018, 10, 181.

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