Nowadays, an increasing number of research groups are looking for new therapies in the treatment of cancer, the so-called 21st century disease. New research lines are emerging every day to find more effective treatments, without the side effects of common chemotherapy, a challenge that is complicated to solve but, nevertheless, has a great ally: the nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology drug delivery systems, and more specifically the nanovesicles, can be used for the treatment of cancer with excellent results. There are different strategies for the delivery of the drug with nanovesicles: passive targeting and active targeting:

Passive targeting.

Passive targeting is one of the most widely used strategies in the treatment of tumors by means of nano-scale drug delivery systems. To do that, polymer-coated nanovesicles (normally liposomes), like PEG-coated liposomes, are used. The main aim of PEG is to avoid the removal of the vesicles by the reticuloendothelial system and, consequently, to prolong their time of circulation in blood.

Due to the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect, there is an increased space between endothelial cells in tumorous tissues (between 100 and 780 nm), compared to the normal space (5-10 nm), and liposomes are able to accumulate in the tumoral tissue, releasing the encapsulated drug there. Figure 1 shows a schematic drawing of this phenomenon.


passive targeting

Figure 1. Passive targeting phenomenon.


Active targeting.

Active targeting has some advantages over passive targeting, like the removal of the side effects that are produced when the drug is not in the therapeutic target, and the enhancement of the therapeutic efficacy because of the selective recognition process. For this, drug-containing nanovesicles are functionalized with different ligands (peptides, antibodies, etc.) that recognize receptors overexpressed in the tumor cells.

As passive targeting, the functionalized nanovesicles tend to accumulate in tumor tissues. However, once the nanovesicles are in the environment of the tumor, they are endocytosed by the tumor cells due to the specific binding nanovesicle-cell, making the treatment more effective and with fewer side effects. Figure 2 shows the active targeting process.


active targeting
Figure 2. Active targeting process.


Nanovex Biotechnologies has a wide experience in the development of nanovesicles for drug delivery.Among our broad range of PRONANOSOME series we offer “ready-to-use” formulations as drug delivery systems.



PRONANOSOME LIPO-PEG 25bioconjugable-25


We also offer on-demand services of encapsulation for multiple applications.