Self-Therapeutic Nanomaterials for Cancer Therapy: A Review

Muhammad Adeel, Fahriye Duzagac, Vincenzo Canzonieri, Flavio Rizzolio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cancer is a commonly lethal disease that causes many deaths every year around the world. Many strategies have been applied to treat cancer, such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, but all of these therapeutic approaches are limited. Nanotechnology could provide a tremendous platform to boost the efficacy of therapeutic systems from the bench to clinical applications. The current trend of using nanomaterials for therapeutic applications is limited to drug delivery and external stimuli-responsive systems. However, several nanomaterials can reduce the growth of aggressive tumors through their self-therapeutic properties. In this review, we discuss the self-therapeutic nanomaterials that can kill cancer cells without the need for any external stimulation (heat, light, radiation, or a magnetic field) or the loading of any extra therapeutic compounds. These nanomaterials can produce reactive oxygen species, act as deoxygenating agents, or produce free radicals at tumor sites. Self-therapeutic peptide-based and other organic nanomaterials that are used to inhibit multidrug resistance (MDR) proteins, e.g., P-glycoprotein (P-gp), are also discussed. This review discusses the possible mechanisms of action of self-therapeutic nanomaterials for cancer inhibition, highlighting critical and future aspects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4962-4971
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 26 2020


  • cancer
  • drug
  • drug delivery
  • prodrug
  • self-therapeutic nanomaterials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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