Nanotechnology for delivery of gemcitabine to treat pancreatic cancer.
Squalene is a triterpene widely distributed in nature that is an intermediate in the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway. The remarkable dynamic folded conformation of squalene has been used to chemically conjugate this lipid with various therapeutic molecules to construct nanoassemblies of 100-300 nm. In this review, we discuss the new concept of "squalenoylation" through application to anticancer (i.e. gemcitabine, paclitaxel, cisplatin etc.…) or antiviral (ddI, ddC) compounds. In a lego-type approach, it is also possible to construct multifunctional nanoparticles endowed with additional imaging functionalities (i.e. "Nanotheragnostics"). This new nanotechnology platform is expected to have important applications in pharmacology.