Engineering nanoparticles to tackle tumor barriers
Engineering nanoparticles (NPs) as delivery systems of anticancer therapeutics has attracted tremendous attention in recent decades, and some nanoscale drug formulations have been approved for clinical use. However, their therapeutic efficacies are still limited by the presence of a series of biological barriers during the delivery process. Among these obstacles, tumor barriers are generally recognized as the bottleneck, because they dominate the NP extravasation from the tumor vasculature and penetration into the tumor parenchyma. Therefore, this review first discussed tumor barriers from two aspects: tumor vascular barriers and tumor stromal barriers. Pathological features of the two sets of barriers as well as their influence on the delivery efficacy were described. Then, we outlined strategies for engineering NPs to overcome these challenges: increasing extravasation through physical property optimization and tumor vascular targeting; and facilitating deep penetration through particle size manipulation, modulation of the tumor extracellular matrix, and some new mechanisms. This review will provide a critical perspective on engineering strategies for more efficient nanomedicine in oncology.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Journal of Materials Chemistry B Recent Review Articles and Journal of Materials Chemistry B Emerging Investigators