The use of nanoparticles to precisely deliver compounds to cells and specific locations within cells has a far broader application than just cancer therapies. Any existing drug that can be targeted this way can be made far more effective: provided in much smaller doses and with greatly reduced side-effects. For example: "Hitching a ride into the retina on nanoparticles called dendrimers offers a new way to treat age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. A study [shows] that steroids attached to the dendrimers target the damage-causing cells associated with neuroinflammation, leaving the rest of the eye unaffected and preserving vision. ... There is no cure for these diseases. An effective treatment could offer hope to hundreds of millions of patients worldwide. ... [Researchers] tested the dendrimer delivery system in rats that develop neuroinflammation. The target was microglial cells, inflammatory cells in charge of cleaning up dead and dying material in the eye ... When activated as 'trash collectors,' the cells cause damage via neuroinflammation - a hallmark of each disease. The microglial cells gobble up the dendrimers, and the drug then shuts down the cells' activity. ... Surprisingly, the activated microglia in the degenerating retina appeared to eat the dendrimer selectively, and retain them for at least a month. The drug is released from the dendrimer in a sustained fashion inside these cells, offering targeted neuroprotection to the retina. ... The treatment reduced neuroinflammation in the rat model and protected vision by preventing injury to photoreceptors in the retina. Though the steroid offers only temporary protection, the treatment as a whole provides sustained relief from neuroinflammation."