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Nanoparticles for Systemic Medicines and Imaging Agents
Volume 3, Issue 3

Mark E. Davis, Caltech

With their small size and controllable surface properties, nanoparticles are attractive candidates for future drug delivery and imaging within target cells of patients. There are several examples today of nanoparticles that have successfully gone through rigorous toxicity testing for regulatory approval and have years of experience in humans as commercial medicines. In this article, Professor Mark Davis explains the current state of the art, highlights the technical and commercial challenges the field faces, and identifies new opportunities for disruptive changes. He predicts that nanoparticles will become “smart” in the sense that they will be able to take cues from their local environment to trigger functions at specified times and locations, such as releasing their “payload” of medicine where conventional drugs could not reach. Also, he suggests that the use of nanoparticle pairs (one for imaging and the other for therapy) will advance personalized medicine by a strategy where the disease target is identified in a patient prior to treatment (imaging nanoparticle), the imaged disease target is then treated (therapeutic particle), and then the patient receives follow-up imaging (imaging nanoparticle) to see if the therapy is working.

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