Chemotherapy employs toxic chemicals to kill rapidly dividing cells. Examples of FDA approved antineoplastic drugs include cisplatin, doxorubicin, and paclitaxel. Since most of these drugs are nonspecific, they also damage normal tissues as well as the aberrant tumors. As a result, non-specific therapies have multiple side effects, which include myelosuppression, mucositis, alopecia, nephrotoxicity, and genotoxcity. In order to minimize these issues, researchers have begun to conjugate antineoplastic chemicals with targeting moieties or encapsulate drugs into nanoparticles decorated with compounds, peptides, or proteins that recognize specific cellular receptors, which are upregulated by the neoplastic cells. The targeting moieties aid in the accumulation of these drugs within the blood vessels of carcinomas, while keeping concentrations low in the systemic circulation. Thus, targeted delivery systems are able to minimize the unwanted side effects and increase the efficacy of chemotherapies.

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