Nano-Mediated Photodynamic Therapy for Cancer: Enhancement of Cancer Specificity and Therapeutic Effects
Laser Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, P.O. Box 17011, Doornfontein 2028, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(11), 923; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8110923
Received: 12 October 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials for Photothermal/Photodynamic Therapy)
Deregulation of cell growth and development lead to cancer, a severe condition that claims millions of lives worldwide. Targeted or selective approaches used during cancer treatment determine the efficacy and outcome of the therapy. In order to enhance specificity and targeting and obtain better treatment options for cancer, novel modalities are currently under development. Photodynamic therapy has the potential to eradicate cancer, and combination therapy would yield even greater outcomes. Nanomedicine-aided cancer therapy shows enhanced specificity for cancer cells and minimal side-effects coupled with effective cancer destruction both in vitro and in vivo. Nanocarriers used in drug-delivery systems are very capable of penetrating the cancer stem cell niche, simultaneously killing cancer cells and eradicating drug-resistant cancer stem cells, yielding therapeutic efficiency of up to 100-fold against drug-resistant cancer in comparison with free drugs. Safety precautions should be considered when using nano-mediated therapy as the effects of extended exposure to biological environments are still to be determined.