Nanoparticle drug delivery heats up

Although there is broad consensus on the properties of a good therapeutic nanoparticle-the ability to concentrate a drug and release it slowly at a specific site-achieving such targeted delivery has remained elusive. Now, a pair of papers presents a blueprint for optimizing tumor targeting with nanoparticles.

One paper, published in Cancer Cell, describes a nanoparticle consisting of a tumor-targeting peptide coupled to a drug that is internalized by the tumor upon binding of the peptide to its molecular target on the tumor surface.1

The second report, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, presents a two-step strategy in which tumors are first labeled with gold nanoparticles and then heated to elicit expression of a heat-related stress protein on the tumor that is subsequently targeted with a second nanoparticle carrying a therapeutic payload.2

Therapeutic nanoparticles encompass

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