Nano-structured biocompatible soft-matter or hybrid materials promise access to novel tools of medical importance. Tailor-made molecules with favourable properties will be synthesized according to the requirements of clinicians. Based on novel chemical strategies, chemists, bioscientists and physicians develop in close collaboration molecules and materials suitable as diagnostic agents, medical devices or drugs with improved properties.
We envision a stream-lined development of medical agents based on multifunctional nanosystems, which show improved target specificity, improved control and possibly stimulus-dependent regulation of pharmacokinetics, thus improving signal-to-noise-ratio of diagnostic tools and reduce the risk of unwanted side effects. By involving all relevant disciplines and pharmaceutical specialists early-on, the options of such novel materials will be explored simultaneously from the beginning.
In the near future, nanodrugs may affect their biological targets with unseen precision, coming close to Paul Ehrlich’s vision of “magic bullets”, which he searched for to treat cancer. In this context, novel carrier systems seem for example conceivable that carry well-characterized drugs with high fidelity to their physiological targets or prevent them from reaching receptors that mediate unwanted effects.