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Targeting Brain Tumors with Nanomedicines: Overcoming Blood Brain Barrier Challenges

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 2 ]


Divya Khaitan, Polluru L. Reddy and Nagendra Ningaraj* Pages 110-119 (10)


Background: This review elucidates ongoing research, which show improved delivery of anticancer drugs alone and/ or enclosed in carriers collectively called nanomedicines to cross the BBB/ BTB to kill tumor cells and impact patient survival. We highlighted various advances in understanding the mechanism of BTB function that has an impact on anticancer therapeutics delivery. We discussed latest breakthroughs in developing pharmaceutical strategies, including nanomedicines and delivering them across BTB for brain tumor management and treatment.

Methods: We performed an extensive literature search and highlighted important studies on the regulation of BTB permeability with respect to nanotech-based nanomedicines for targeted treatment of brain tumors. We have reviewed research articles that describe the development of specialized molecules and nanospheres, which carry payload of anticancer agents to brain tumor cells across the BBB/ BTB and avoid drug efflux systems. We highlighted research on the identification and development of targeted anti-cancer drug delivery to brain tumors. In addition, we discussed multimeric molecular therapeutics and nanomedicines that were encapsulated in nanospheres for treatment and monitoring of brain tumors.

Results: In this context, we quoted our research on large conductance calcium-activated potassium channels (BKCa) and ATP-dependent potassium channels (KATP) as portals of enhanced antineoplastic drugs delivery. We showed that several innovative drug delivery agents such as liposomes, polymeric nanoparticles, dendrimers and many such tools can be utilized to improve anticancer drugs and nanomedicines across the BTB to reach brain tumor cells.

Conclusion: This review might interest both academic and drug company scientists involved in drug delivery to brain tumors. We further seek to present evidence that BTB modulators can be clinically developed as combination drug or/ and as stand-alone anticancer drugs. Eventually, it is expected that unrelenting effort from the scientific community in developing novel drug delivery methods should increase the survival rate of brain tumor patients, which is dismally low presently.


Blood-brain barrier (BBB), blood-tumor barrier (BTB), BKCa; calcium-dependent potassium channels, nanoparticles, nanomedicine, multimeric molecular delivery.


Syngene International, Bangalore, Molecular Diagnostics/Pathology, Arctic Diagnostics Labs, Grand Rapids, MI, BGS-BioMedical Research Institute, Bangalore

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