Biotech Strategy Blog

Commentary on Science, Innovation & New Products with a focus on Oncology, Hematology & Cancer Immunotherapy

Posts tagged ‘Nanoparticles’

Nanotechnology is leading to innovation in drug delivery, and new ways to treat diseases.

In an April 3, 2011 online article in Nature Chemistry, researchers from the IBM Almaden Research Center, Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore and Zhejiang University in China publish groundbreaking data on how biodegradable nanoparticles could be used to treat infectious diseases such as methillicin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The research shows how nanoparticles can selectively disrupt microbial cell membranes, walls and inhibit the growth of gram-positive bacteria, MRSA and fungi.

What makes this research exciting, is that the nanoparticles did not cause haemolysis or break-up of red blood cells.  The authors note that nanoparticles for the treatment of infectious diseases could be “synthesized in large quantities and at low cost” and are therefore “promising as anti-microbial drugs.”

The global market for infectious diseases was $90.4 billion in 2009 and is projected to reach $138 billion in 2014.  In the United States there are now more deaths from MRSA than there are from AIDS (18,650 MRSA deaths in 2005 compared to 16,000 for AIDS according to a paper in JAMA).

With more than 94,000 MRSA infections a year in the United States, and the increasing resistance of MRSA to existing anti-microbial therapies, treatment of infectious diseases is a major public health concern. Hospital acquired MRSA infections particularly target the elderly and those vulnerable through weakened immune systems.

Innovations in nanotechnology and drug delivery, such as the one published by Nederberg, Zhang, Tan & Xu in Nature Chemistry, open the door to potential new anti-microbial therapies.  It will be interesting to see how this research is commercialized and translated into new products and treatments.

ResearchBlogging.orgNederberg, F., Zhang, Y., Tan, J., Xu, K., Wang, H., Yang, C., Gao, S., Guo, X., Fukushima, K., Li, L., Hedrick, J., & Yang, Y. (2011). Biodegradable nanostructures with selective lysis of microbial membranes Nature Chemistry DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1012

Faced with the opportunity to read around 900+ posters yesterday afternoon in the first of the six main poster sessions from Sunday to Wednesday here at the AACR annual meeting, any selection of a “poster of the day” is extremely subjective.  All the posters here have considerable scientific merit having passed a rigorous peer-review selection process.

Faced with a smorgasboard of choice, one ends up focusing on areas of personal interest. One area I have recently started to write about on this blog is the impact nanotechnology may have on cancer research and in particular how nanoparticles in the form of diamonds can be used to reach into tumors.

So “my poster of the day” from Sunday April 3rd, Day 2 of AACR is  “Multistate Nanoparticle Delivery System for Deep Penetration into Tumor Tissue.” It is Abstract#548 on the AACR website, and is from a team of researchers at the Department of Chemistry at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The published poster by Cliff Wong and colleagues is “a proof-of-principle demonstration that a size changing nanoparticle can facilitate delivery into the dense collagen matrix of a tumor.

The authors conclude, that what they have developed is: “the potential for customized delivery of nanoparticles by using genomic and molecular data to achieve optimal delivery for a particular patient.”

Heralding the future potential of their research, the poster states that as result of this work they now can “design a series of customized nanoparticles that are activated by a variety of tumor-associated proteases such as cathepsin B and urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA).

One question that this research raises to me is to what extent different tumors may require a different sized nanoparticles to deliver drug to the target area? If we do need different sized nanoparticles, then how do we determine which is the best size/combination?

I’m excited at the possibility that not only may we have personalized medicine, but that nanotechnology may enable customized drug delivery.

The heart of the AACR annual meeting to me is the posters, and they frequently stimulate questions that may generate novel new approaches or trigger new research avenues or opportunities to make a difference in the lives of future cancer patients.

 

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