Affiliation: Dept. of Life Sciences, Faculdade de Ciencias e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Campus de Caparica, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal.
Nanotechnology has emerged as a "disruptive technology" that may provide researchers with new and innovative ways to diagnose, treat and monitor cancer. In fact, nanomedicine approaches have delivered several strategies, such as new imaging agents, real-time assessments of therapeutic and surgical efficacy, multifunctional, targeted devices capable of bypassing biological barriers to target and silence specific pathways in tumours. Of particular interest, has been the increased capability to deliver multiple therapeutic agents directly to bulk cancer cells and cancer stem cells that play a critical role in cancer growth and metastasis. These multifunctional targeted nanoconjugates are also capable of avoiding cancer resistance and monitor predictive molecular changes that open the path for preventive action against pre-cancerous cells, minimizing costs and incidence of relapses. A myriad of nanoconjugates with effective silencing and site-targeting moieties can be developed by incorporating a diverse selection of targeting, diagnostic, and therapeutic components. A discussion of the integrative effort of nanotechnology systems with recent developments of biomolecular interactions in cancer progression is clearly required. Here, we will update the state of the art related to the development and applications of nanoscale platforms and novel biomolecular players in cancer diagnosis, imaging and treatment.