A Review of the Current State of Nanomedicines for Targeting and Treatment of Cancers: Achievements and Future Challenges

Ali Kermanizadeh*, Nicklas Raun Jacobsen, Fiona Murphy, Leagh Powell, Lee Parry, Haiyuan Zhang, Peter Møller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The design and utilization of nanomedicines offers great potential for treating various diseases including cancers. Current challenges with traditional cancer treatment strategies include but are not limited to lack of specific targeting, overt systemic toxicity and low efficacy. The use of nanomaterials show particular promise as candidates for cancer treatment due to their high surface to volume ratio and tuneable size, shape, and surface chemistry, which in combination, allow for improved tumor targeting and enhanced therapeutic efficacy. The scrutinization of the literature demonstrates the potential of nanosized carrier systems over traditional approaches (at the molecular level) for specific targeting of the tumors. Despite the great promise showing in preclinical studies, the number of nanomedicines reaching clinical testing is still very low. This review attempts to address this issue by using a weight of evidence approach to the different strategies for use of nanomedicines in combating cancer, as well as highlighting a number of areas that the field of nanomedicines is clearly lagging behind in, as compared to conventional drug discovery and development. It is hoped that the recommendations in this review will allow for better translation of nanomedicines reaching clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000186
JournalAdvanced Therapeutics
Issue number2
Early online date9 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • cancer
  • inappropriate test models
  • nanomedicines
  • oncological nanomedicines
  • targeting and therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Pharmacology


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