Diagnosis | Investigative Techniques | Medical Neurobiology | Nervous System | Pharmaceutical Preparations

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Nanotechnology refers to the manipulation or design of materials and structures with desired features in the 1nm–1000 nm size range. The blood brain barrier (BBB) is a major obstacle that drugs must overcome in order to reach tumor cells. The role of this barrier is to transport essential nutrients while protecting and regulating the internal environment. Nanoparticles have been shown to transport drugs through this barrier and accumulate in tumor cells. This is significant since nanoparticles are drug carriers allowing chemotherapeutic drugs to accumulate in target areas (Sun et al., 2017). This is possible because they are able to be modified to overexpress specific peptides or membrane markers that are found in these target areas. Once the nanoparticle reaches these anatomical barriers they bind to the correct receptor and move into the area. They can then accumulate and drop their payload which may include a chemotherapeutic drug or contrast agent. This release is sensed by specific pH or temperature changes (Cheng, Morshed, Auffinger, Tobias, & Lesniak, 2014). Nanoparticles can contain different types of elements with unique properties. These properties can be optical, magnetic, or thermal resonating (Savale, 2015). They can be used in both imaging and treating tumors such as glioblastomas. However, there may be potential side effects that are currently not well understood (Wikipedia, 2019b). Nanoparticles are known to have a low toxicity when compared to other drugs (Wikipedia, 2019b). However, high toxicity levels can lead to alarming effects such as affecting other organs and their function (Savale, 2015). Cancer in the brain such as a glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the most active and lethal cancers. Unfortunately, there is no known effective treatment; however, the use of nanoparticles has opened a new door into fighting this disease. This paper will discuss the relationships that nanoparticles have in treating cerebral tumors as well as imaging of cerebral tumors.