An August 11th, 2013 blog (below) on this website described how a chemotherapeutic drug such as docetaxel (taxotere) used in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer could be administered more effectively and with less side effects. Taxotere is a variant of an anti-cancer drug (taxol) originally isolated from yew plants.
Nanoparticles are chemical species which can serve as a targeted delivery system for drugs, proteins and other therapeutics. The drug to be delivered is contained within the nanoparticle whose surface is then coated with targeting moieties such as antibodies. The overall result is the delivery of a specific drug directly to the cancer cells thereby allowing for higher localized doses and minimized systemic side effects. This type of delivery system for docetaxel (taxotere) is given as an example in a video and accompanying article from the July 31st, 2013 issue of the Prostate Cancer Foundation NewsPulse. Docetaxel is a chemotherapy used in metastatic, hormone-refractory prostate cancer patients. While it is efficacious, it also can produce serious side effects. It is also limited in the amount of drug which can be administered intravenously. Therefore, nanoparticle delivery can be much more efficacious.