Effective vehicles are often required to deliver nucleic acids and drugs to diseased tissues due to poor stability, susceptibility to enzymatic degradation, and/or unfavorable pharmacokinetics associated with these therapeutic molecules. Nanostructures can be employed to load, target, and release nucleic acid and drug therapeutics selectively to pre-determined sites in the body. Following the widespread use and success of organic nanoparticles, inorganic nanoparticles are being increasingly investigated as therapeutics and as vehicles in nucleic acid and drug delivery. Inorganic nanoparticles demonstrate unique physicochemical properties not associated with their organic counterparts. In addition, ease of synthesis and surface modification, tenability of size and shape, and multifunctionality associated with inorganic nanoparticles make them attractive platforms for biomedical applications. This review discusses recent developments in gold nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, graphene oxide nanoparticles, iron oxide nanoparticles, calcium phosphate nanoparticles, and mesoporous silica nanoparticles as therapeutics and delivery vehicles, with a focus on applications in cancer diseases.
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