Mechanisms of cooperation in cancer nanomedicine: towards systems nanotechnology.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Trends Biotechnol, Volume 32, Issue 9, p.448-55 (2014)


Biomedical Research, Humans, Nanomedicine, Nanotechnology, Neoplasms


Nanoparticles are designed to deliver therapeutics and diagnostics selectively to tumors. Their size, shape, charge, material, coating, and cargo determine their individual functionalities. A systems approach could help predict the behavior of trillions of nanoparticles interacting in complex tumor environments. Engineering these nanosystems may lead to biomimetic strategies where interactions between nanoparticles and their environment give rise to cooperative behaviors typically seen in natural self-organized systems. Examples include nanoparticles that communicate the location of a tumor to amplify tumor homing or self-assemble and disassemble to optimize nanoparticle transport. The challenge is to discover which nanoparticle designs lead to a desired system behavior. To this end, novel nanomaterials, deep understanding of biology, and computational tools are emerging as the next frontier.