In the last decade, the science of nanoparticles has made major advances in particle-type production and in nanoparticle application in all areas of the life sciences. The most rapid advances have been made in the application of nanoparticles in drug research and development, drug product formulation, and development of novel drug-delivery systems using nanoparticle carriers.
The development of nanoparticles and their rapid incorporation into the research and development, formulation, and production of drug products has given rise to the need for rapid and accurate analytical instrumentation that is necessary for determining the size and characteristics of particle materials in the nanometer-size range.
Nanoparticles used in the life sciences and biomedical applications are considered to be in the range of 10 to 100 nanometers in diameter. Developing particles from various starting materials that remain stable in this size range has become one of the fastest-growing and most potentially useful emerging technologies of the last several decades.
Both particle size and shape are important in the life sciences because the particle properties of biopharmaceutical products can affect a drug product in two ways – size and shape, both of which can have influences on drug performance or efficacy in the body.
A major challenge of current drug therapy is that the body does not absorb the entire drug dose given to a patient. By using nanoparticle delivery systems, scientists can ensure drugs are properly delivered to specific areas in the body with greater precision and not distributed throughout the body. Drugs can be formulated and included in nanoparticles in such a way that the active ingredient can better permeate cell membranes, thus potentially reducing the required dose.
Two forms of nanoparticles – nanocarriers and nanocrystals – currently are used to deliver cosmetic components absorbed through the skin. A number of FDA-approved drugs are delivered using one form of nanoparticle – the liposome. Several nanoparticle-related drug-delivery systems are in the pipeline of a number of major pharmaceutical companies. Clinical trials are in progress on some of these developments. There is potential in this technology for the successful development and application of future nanotech products to diagnose and treat various diseases.
Two of the most active areas of product development are drug-delivery systems and in vivo imaging. In the pharmaceutical industry, nanoparticles are aiding product reformulation to increase bioavailability of a drug. Nanoparticles also hold promise in reducing the toxicity and side effects of existing drugs.
The methods for producing nanoparticles vary depending on the starting substrate materials and the size particle desired as an end product. This report will provide an overview of various production methods and indicate new advances in the production area.
The above is an extract from the BCC Research report, Nanoparticles in Biotechnology, Drug Development and Drug Delivery (BIO113A). To download the complimentary first chapter, please click here.