Nanotechnology is the manipulation of atoms, molecules, and supramolecular structures on the nanoscale to alter a matter’s chemical and physical properties (Silva et al., 2014). The field of medicine has been impacted tremendously by this exciting nuance technology. In particular, this technology made waves in therapeutics and drug delivery.
A traditional large particle drug presents several disadvantages, including poor bioavailability, poor solubility, and ineffective targeted delivery, resulting in generalized side effects (Nanotechnology for drug delivery applications, 2017). Pharmaceutical nanoparticles are generally less than 100 nm in size and made of biodegradable materials including polymers, lipids, and metals (Suri et al., 2007). As nanoparticles are smaller in size than macromolecules, they are more effective as drug delivery agents since they are more easily absorbed by cells (Suri et al., 2007). This would allow for more accurate and efficient drug transport and delivery (Suri et al., 2007).
Targeted drug delivery using nanomedicine (nanoparticles loaded with a therapeutic active principle) can change the treatment of multiple human diseases, including cancer and inflammation. As an example, it can be used to passively target tumours in cancer therapy. To be effective, cancer drugs need to accumulate inside the tumour and not harm the surrounding tissues (Benefits of nanotechnology for cancer, 2017). Several studies have demonstrated that nanomedicines have enhanced permeability and retention properties inside tumours (Nanotechnology for drug delivery applications, 2017), enabling them to be better retained inside the tumour. As tumour mass grows rapidly, there is a need for abnormally sized vessels to provide oxygen and nutrition, which leads to vessel walls with large pores (40nm to 1 um) (Benefits of nanotechnology for cancer, 2017). The pores enable larger NPs to pass through and extravasate into tumour masses (Benefits of nanotechnology for cancer, 2017). Because the tumour’s lymphatic system is deficient, NP accumulation is enhanced (Benefits of nanotechnology for cancer, 2017). By free passing through large pores, NPs larger than 8nm (between 8-100 nm) can passively target tumours and achieve intertumoral accumulation (Benefits of nanotechnology for cancer, 2017). As a result of high drug accumulation inside the tumour, nanomedicines significantly improve treatment efficacy. Another application of nano drug delivery and nanomedicine is its usage in inflammation and infection treatments. A study has found that long-circulating prednisolone-containing liposomes accumulate in macrophages of patients with symptomatic iliofemoral atherosclerosis for much longer periods of time as a result of their prolonged half-life (Brusini et al., 2020). Thus, the patient’s inflammation was reduced. Nanomedicines that treat inflammation are still in the development phase, and few are currently being tested in clinical trials. However, current studies show that nanomedicines have great potential for treating inflammation diseases in the future (Brusini et al., 2020).
Nanomedicine and its use in drug delivery are rapidly spreading in the therapeutics field. As a result of nanotechnology being applied to drug delivery, therapeutics have become more effective, and even entirely novel therapeutics may be able to be developed (Patra et al., 2018). The technology offers endless possibilities and may be the solution to many of the world’s most pressing health problems one day.
AZoNano. (2017, November 1). Nanotechnology for drug delivery applications. AZoNano.com. Retrieved January 12, 2022, from https://www.azonano.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=4668
Brusini, R., Varna, M., & Couvreur, P. (2020). Advanced nanomedicines for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Advanced drug delivery reviews, 157, 161–178. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addr.2020.07.010
National Cancer Institute. (2017, August 8). Benefits of nanotechnology for cancer. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved January 12, 2022, from https://www.cancer.gov/nano/cancer-nanotechnology/benefits
Patra, J. K., Das, G., Fraceto, L. F., Campos, E. V., Rodriguez-Torres, M. del, Acosta-Torres, L. S., Diaz-Torres, L. A., Grillo, R., Swamy, M. K., Sharma, S., Habtemariam, S., & Shin, H.-S. (2018). Nano based drug delivery systems: Recent developments and future prospects. Journal of Nanobiotechnology, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12951-018-0392-8
Silva, J., Fernandes, A. R., & Baptista, P. V. (2014). Application of nanotechnology in drug delivery. Application of Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery. https://doi.org/10.5772/58424
Suri, S. S., Fenniri, H., & Singh, B. (2007). Nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems. Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1745-6673-2-16