Posted: August 9, 2007

Nanotechnology for next-generation drug products

(Nanowerk News) In the field of medicine, nanotechnology and biotechnology are being increasingly combined, and this both in drug delivery and in diagnostics. The combination of material science, bio-engineering, and cell biology, in conjunction with the experience gained from clinical medicine, are giving rise to innovative products. Different segments of nanotechnology promise a high medical potential, for example drug delivery systems. They will be one of the focal subjects at this year’s NanoEurope Fair & Conference in St.Gallen from September 11 – 13.
The applications of nanotechnology in the field of medicine are extremely varied. They range from diagnostics and surface treatment of implants to possible applications in regenerative medicine. One of the focal subjects of this year’s specialist conferences on Medical Devices will be on local drug delivery systems. The use of such nanoscale carrier systems appreciably improves both the distribution and the pharmakinetic parameters of drugs compared with medicines that are freely available in the body. Among other things, they allow the extent of side effects to be reduced, as are frequently encountered – for example – in cancer therapies.
Targeted application of drugs
The embedding of active substances in a matrix enables their delivery to be entirely prevented in certain areas of the body or to be made possible in controlled doses. Moreover, the targeted functionalization of the surface of nanoparticles allows controlled absorption by specific cells which are to be acted upon by the drug. In cancer therapy, the efficiency of drugs is enhanced and their toxicity reduced by the reformulation of the substances in carrier systems with a size of less than 50 nm. Also the blood-brain barrier can be overcome by such nanocarrier systems. This opens up possible nanocarrier system applications in the area of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer or Parkinson.

High-class speakers

At the NanoEurope, which will be held in St. Gallen from September 11 – 13, 2007, the nanoformulation of pharmaceuticals will be treated in three papers by GlaxoSmithKline (United Kingdom), Camurus AB (Sweden), and Medipol (Switzerland). Professor David Tapolczay, former Vice President for Development with GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals and now Chief Scientific Officer with SAFC PHARMA, is an expert in the combination of pharma-biotechnology and nanotechnology. In his paper, he will discuss the future potential to be expected of the next nanotechnology generation in the area of drug products. Camurus AB from Sweden, represented at the NanoEurope by its CEO and President Professor Fredrik Tiberg, this year won the award for being “The Best Private Biotech Company in Medicon Valley in 2007.” Tiberg will talk about innovative nanoscalar carrier systems which allow existing products to be improved and new therapy forms to be discovered. Thanks to these novel carrier systems, in particular proteins, peptides, and drugs based on “small molecules” stand to find a promising market in specially customized applications.

Legal aspects

Despite the large existing potential, nanoformulations are also hotly debated due to the possible toxic effects of nanoparticles. If nanotechnologically produced pharmaceuticals are to meet with long-term success in the marketplace, top priority must be given to safety aspects. This concerns not only safety in using drugs on patients, but also the handling of such substances by research and production staff. Cornelia Camara, in charge of safety and drug regulation issues at Medipol, will detail safety aspects in her paper.
Following last year’s successful event, which was attended by 65 exhibitors and 4,500 visitors from over 33 countries, the NanoEurope trade fair will once again serve this year as a meeting platform for the interested specialist public. The event in 2007 will again focus on the industrial areas of Medical Devices, Textiles, and Plastics. New additions are Solar Power and Packaging. For the third time now, the internationally acclaimed NanoRegulation Conference will be held in 2007 as part of the NanoEurope. Also new is the “Dye Solar Cell Industrialization Conference,” which is being organized in cooperation with Dyesol Ltd. and will take part concurrently with the NanoEurope 2007.
Source: Pressebox