Drug delivery barriers in human cancer and the development of nanoparticle drug delivery systems to enhance drug delivery and therapeutic response

Low efficiency in drug delivery is one of the most important clinical challenges in the treatment of highly heterogeneous and drug resistant human cancer. It is well-known that very low percentages of systemically delivered chemotherapy or small molecule drugs, therapeutic antibodies, and nanoparticle-drugs could enter tumor tissues due to dysfunctional tumor vessels. The presence of a tumor stromal barrier further limits diffusion and distribution of therapeutic agents inside tumor tissues to reach tumor cells. Multifunctional nanoparticle drug carriers offer the opportunity to increase not only drug delivery into tumor tissues but also improve intratumoral distribution of nanoparticle-drugs. Various nanoparticle-drug delivery systems with the abilities of targeted delivery into tumor tissues, destroying stromal barriers, and penetrating through the tumor stroma for enhanced drug delivery into tumor cells have been developed. This lecture will provide information about different types of drug delivery barriers in heterogeneous human tumors, considerations for the design of new nanoparticle drug carriers to improve drug delivery into tumor cells, and current advances in the development of nanoparticle drug delivery systems with a stroma-breaking or penetrating ability.

Lily Yang, MD, PhD is a professor of surgery and radiology at Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the development of novel cancer nanotechnologies and imaging methods to address the major challenges in clinical oncology of early cancer detection, targeted drug delivery, overcoming drug resistance, assessment of therapeutic response using non-invasive imaging, and image-guided surgery. Dr. Yang received her medical training in China at West China University of Medical Sciences and at the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. She received her PhD in molecular and cellular biology at Brown University. She had postdoctoral trainings in the Gene Therapy Laboratories at University of Southern California and in the Department of Genetics and Molecular Medicine Center at Emory University.