Nanoplatform-based cascade engineering for cancer therapy
Various therapeutic techniques have been studied for treating cancer precisely and effectively, such as targeted drug delivery, phototherapy, tumor-specific catalytic therapy, and synergistic therapy, which, however, evoke numerous challenges due to the inherent limitations of these therapeutic modalities and intricate biological circumstances as well. With the remarkable advances of nanotechnology, nanoplatform-based cascade engineering, as an efficient and booming strategy, has been tactfully introduced to optimize these cancer therapies. Based on the designed nanoplatforms, pre-supposed cascade processes could be triggered under specific conditions to generate/deliver more therapeutic species or produce stronger tumoricidal effects inside tumors, aiming to achieve cancer therapy with increased anti-tumor efficacy and diminished side effects. In this review, the recent advances in nanoplatform-based cascade engineering for cancer therapy are summarized and discussed, with an emphasis on the design of smart nanoplatforms with unique structures, compositions and properties, and the implementation of specific cascade processes by means of endogenous tumor microenvironment (TME) resources and/or exogenous energy inputs. This fascinating strategy presents unprecedented potential in the enhancement of cancer therapies, and offers better controllability, specificity and effectiveness of therapeutic functions compared to the corresponding single components/functions. In the end, challenges and prospects of such a burgeoning strategy in the field of cancer therapy will be discussed, hopefully to facilitate its further development to meet the personalized treatment demands.