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Current status of lectin-based cancer diagnosis and therapy

Laboratory of Future Nanomedicines and Theoretical Chronopharmaceutics, Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Missouri-Kansas City. 2464 Charlotte, Kansas City 64108, MO, USA.

Topical Section: Lectins

Lectins are carbohydrate recognizing proteins originating from diverse origins in nature, including animals, plants, viruses, bacteria and fungus. Due to their exceptional glycan recognition property, they have found many applications in analytical chemistry, biotechnology and surface chemistry. This manuscript explores the current use of lectins for cancer diagnosis and therapy. Moreover, novel drug delivery strategies aiming at improving lectin’s stability, reducing their undesired toxicity and controlling their non-specific binding interactions are discussed. We also explore the nanotechnology application of lectins for cancer targeting and imaging. Although many investigations are being conducted in the field of lectinology, there is still a limited clinical translation of the major findings reported due to lectins stability and toxicity concerns. Therefore, new investigations of safe and effective drug delivery system strategies for lectins are warranted in order to take full advantage of these proteins.
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