Smart Materials in Cancer Treatment

Published 16 February, 2021

Cancer is a global health problem and has become one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality around the world. According to statistics from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in 2020, there were 19.3 million new cancers and nearly 10 million deaths. Almost 1 in 5 people will develop cancer in their lifetime, and 1 in 8 men and 11 women will die of cancer.

In cancer treatment, no matter whether it is chemotherapy, immunotherapy, photothermal therapy or many other physical treatments, the effective, targeted and controllable delivery of the therapeutic agents are important but challenging. In this process, there is a need to overcome multiple physiological and pathological barriers involving blood, tissue, cell and intracellular transport, among others. In particular, the tumour microenvironment formed by dense tumour extracellular matrix, tissue hypoxia, low pH and interstitial hypertension, and the production of a large number of growth factors and proteolytic enzymes and immune-inflammatory reactions.

As a result, it is important we  design smart materials with characterisations such as good biocompatibility, great therapeutic capability (by the materials themselves or by their payloads), efficient targeting of cancer sites, and responsiveness to specific biological stimuli (such as biological signals, pathological abnormalities) or exogenous stimulation (such as light, heat, magnetic, etc.).

Topics Covered:

  • Application of intelligent materials in circulation tumour cells diagnosis
  • Application of smart materials in reverse tumour microenvironment
  • Application of smart materials in anti-tumour drug delivery
  • Application of smart materials in tumour photoacoustic imaging
  • Application of smart materials in anti-tumour drug screening

Important Deadlines:

  • Submission deadline: 1 January 2022

Submission Instructions:

Guest Editors:

  • Hongbo Zhang, Pharmaceutical Sciences Laboratory and Turku Bioscience Centre, Abo Akademi University, Turku, Finland. Email:
  • Xing Guo, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China. Email:
  • Yunjiao Zhang, School of Medicine, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China. Email:

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