Updated on 4 July 2016
The development of nanoparticle therapeutics is a distinctly Asian phenomenon, concluded a report by Nomura Holdings ─ Japan's most reputed market analysis firm.
One of the major concerns in the treatment of a number of diseases is the delivery of the therapeutic compound to the target site. The conventional use of drugs has been impacted by limited effectiveness, poor biodistribution and a lack of selectivity.
A recent approach for overcoming these limitations is through the use of controlled drug delivery systems (DDS). In this method, the drug is transported in a targeted manner thus reducing its influence on other tissues and organs and thus minimizing side effects. This is especially important in the case of toxic drugs such as anti-cancer drugs. Additionally, DDS prevents the rapid degradation or clearance of the drugs and increases their concentration in target tissues thereby reducing the dosage of the drugs or increasing the dose intervals.
The development of this technology and the major Asian companies working on it can be traced back to the pioneering work of 2 individuals - Dr S W Kim and Dr K Hong.
Studies have shown that attaching drugs to individually designed carriers can help achieve cell-specific targeting. Nanoparticles, which are structures smaller than 100nm in at least one dimension, have been shown to have great potential as drug carriers. These particles exhibit unique physiochemical and biological properties due to their small size including the ability to cross tissue barrier. Micelles, Liposomes, and Microspheres are different types of nanoparticles used as DDS.