Nanomedicine is a branch of medicine that involves the use of nanoscale materials, such as biocompatible nanoparticles and nanorobots, to deliver therapeutic agents to specifically targeted sites in a controlled manner. In recent years, nanomedicine has gained immense attention worldwide due to the fact that it could be utilized as delivery agents by either drug encapsulation or conjunction with cell surface markers for controlled release to target tissues. Therefore, they can be used for diagnosis, monitoring, control, prevention, and treatment of various diseases. Polymeric nanomaterials with diameters ranging from 10 to 1000 nm can be categorized into nanospheres and nanocapsules exhibiting characteristics ideal for an efficient delivery vehicle. Due to the novel physicochemical properties of nanoparticles, they greatly increase a set of opportunities in the field of drug development; however, some concerns have been raised regarding safety issues. Over the past few years, nanoparticles have mostly been used in combination with plant extracts to lessen the side-effects of the medications. Thus, green nanoparticles can be used for drug delivery as it minimizes the hazardous constituents in the biosynthetic process, are sustainable, eco-friendly, and can lower the toxicity issues.
Drawbacks associated with large-sized materials including limited bioaccessibility, poor solubility, poor absorption in the body, the requirement of more quantity for intravenous intake, in vivo instability, and unwanted side-effects could be overcome by the application of nanotechnology approaches in the drug delivery systems. Nano-engineered drug designing has been studied broadly because of its potential advantages such as modifying properties like solubility, diffusivity, drug release profiles, bioavailability, and immunogenicity. This can revolutionize the conventional way leading to the improvement and development of convenient administration routes. Nano drugs can be beneficial in terms of lower toxicity, fewer side effects, cost-effective, good therapeutic potential, and extended drug life cycle. Release of drugs from nanoparticles and their biodegradation are the two most important parameters which should be considered for developing successful formulations. Therefore, the diffusion characteristics and breakdown properties of the nanoparticles at the target site should be carefully mapped to achieve effective therapeutic capabilities. There are two ways to deliver a nano-drug through passive and active targeting. In passive drug delivery, drugs are incorporated in the inner cavity of the nanostructure mainly via the hydrophobic effect which enhances their pharmacokinetics. When this nanostructure is targeted to a particular site, the intended amount of the drug encapsulated in a hydrophobic environment is released, demonstrating targeting by enhanced permeation and retention. While in active targeting, peptides or antibodies are directly conjugated to the carrier nanostructure material. In this approach, the nanocarrier recognizes and binds to the target cell through ligand-receptor interactions. This can be achieved by the high expression of receptors or epitopes on the cell surface. Metals-based nanoparticles including gold and silver are versatile agents providing simultaneous diagnosis and therapy that could potentially lead to wider utilization of nanomedicines in the future. For cancer treatment, gold-nanoparticles are mainly used as they are small and can easily penetrate soft tumor tissues making the tumor susceptible to radiation-based heat therapy. Silica nanoparticles, quantum dots, metal nanoparticles, and lanthanide nanoparticles have unique properties that can be used in the bio-analysis field for tracking of nanomedicine from the systemic to sub-cellular level.
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