Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Pharmacology and Toxicology

Degree Program

Pharmacology and Toxicology, MS

Committee Chair

Gupta, Ramesh

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Yan, Jun

Committee Member

Yan, Jun

Committee Member

Klinge, Carolyn

Committee Member

Munagala, Radha

Author's Keywords

cancer; nanomedicine; targeted therapy; exosome


Despite continuous improvement and significant progress made in diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for cancer, it is still the leading cause of death worldwide. Although conventional chemotherapy has made significant advances in improving patient survival the indiscriminate destruction of normal cells leads to severe side effects and poor clinical outcomes. Thus, there is a need for effective delivery of drugs to the tumor site avoiding normal tissues to reduce toxicity in the rest of the body. For this reason, a novel multidisciplinary field called Nanotechnology has evolved in recent years and advances in this field have contributed to the development of nanoscale materials to overcome the lack of specificity of conventional chemotherapeutic agents for optimized cancer therapy. Nanoparticles can be designed to preferentially target the tumor site and deliver high drug payloads by either passive or active targeting. Passive targeting exploits the preferential drug accumulation in tumor cells through enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. On the other hand, active targeting uses functionalized nanoparticles to carry a drug to the specific site. This targeting strategy is becoming a new standard in cancer treatment. A selective and tumor site-specific treatment can be achieved by using various ligands such as aptamers, antibodies, peptides, and small molecules. Targeting nanocarriers serve as a highly promising strategy for effective cancer treatment, as shown by encouraging results in many recent studies. This thesis highlights the diversity of nanoparticle types, targeting mechanisms and active targeting strategies. I will also discuss an emerging field of nano drug delivery using biological nanovesicles called exosomes. Finally, I will discuss the current clinical status of nanoparticle formulations.