Like leaving simple but extremely attractive food out for mice to eat and lacing it with disguised poison, the NeoPharm company’s NeoLipid® technology entices tumor cells to consume lots of fats (lipids) that are secretly loaded with drugs. The liposomal product–a microscopic spherical particle with an outside fat layer that encloses a compartment you can put liquids in–feeds the hungry tumor cell both the fats it craves and the anti-cancer drugs that will lead to its death.
Other researchers are studying carriers like polymer drug conjugates (pairs or other combinations) which can also be programmed to say when and where they will release their drug load. One problem is some of these polymers can’t carry as much of the desired anti-cancer agents as the liposomes. Another possibility being studied is dendrimers, which are working well in mice–without poisoning them–but these haven’t been used with humans yet. And although that story doesn’t say so, according to this site dendrimers fall into the nanotechnology category and may carry their own risks.
Always glad to read about research into methods that try to spare the rest of the patient while trying to get to the bad cells.