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Introduction: Nanoparticles are very unique as their size (1 to 100 nm) is intermediate to that of macromolecules and the atoms. At such small sizes, the effect of gravity vanishes and properties like surface tensions, Van der Waals interactions etc. tend to dominate. Nanoparticles like ‘quantum dots’ demonstrate the properties of statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics. The vast amount of surface area and various enhanced properties such as solubility and catalytic efficiency enables diverse novel applications in industries and biomedical research. Presently, the development of enhanced drug delivery systems is a very promising and demanding area of research which can potentially help us to take a huge leap towards combating fatal diseases like cancer.Conventional methods for curing cancer Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, and was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015. Globally, nearly 1 in 6 deaths is due to the cancer. Cancer is majorly treated by a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy etc. The former three methods are most widely practiced. Surgery involves the treatment of non-hematological cancers by cutting the body and removing the tumor. This procedure is extremely painful and the cuts take a long time to recover.Radiation therapy uses high dosage of high-energy radiations like x-rays and gamma rays to shrink tumors. Chemotherapy treats cancer by using very potent and toxic anticancer drugs that target cells which rapidly grow and divide, like cancer cells. The huge bane with this therapy is that it is not specific to cancer cells and does affect some other rapidly proliferating healthy cells, like those of skin, hair, intestine etc. There are numerous dire side effects which add to the misery.Nanoparticles: a new avenue for chemotherapyIn a nut shell, the nanoparticles act as efficient vehicles which help to transport the chemotherapeutic agents to the right venue (tumor). The nanoparticles can be biodegradable and adopt a variety of shapes, sizes and chemical forms. They are amphipathic and spontaneously arrange themselves to form micelles and encapsulate high concentrations of drugs which display much better therapeutic effects in-vivo. The rapid growth and metastasis of tumor causes leakage in the blood vessel walls with the development of large pores and lacks the ability to flush out the nanoparticles (due to the absence of Lymphatic system). The tumor cells also have special receptors which can be recognized by the functional groups present on the surface of nanomedicine. Thus, the nanomedicine is easily absorbed and accumulates in the tumor over a period of time. Further, the drug can be released inside the tumor either via the erosion of the nanoparticle capsule or with the assistance of some stimuli response like pH change, heat, ultrasound, electromagnetic field response etc. In contrast, the healthy cells are spared as there are no associated leaky vascular walls.   ConclusionsThe developments in the field of nanotechnology has opened a broad gateway for treating cancer with efficient diagnosis and treatment via targeted drug delivery. Ongoing research involves the development of multifunctional nanoparticles which can enhance the MRI images and efficiently inhibit the growth of tumor cells. With the advent of research and technology we can endeavor towards a more healthy society and fight the menace of cancer and other deadly diseases.

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