Updated on 16 May 2012
Ultrasound-enhanced technology: Researchers at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, have designed a novel approach to enhance the penetration of small molecules into ex vivo tissue. The hypothesis of researchers is that the mechanical effect of ultrasound energy, radiation force of ultrasound pulse and microstreaming resulting from bubble cavitation are the major mechanisms of pulse high-intensity focused ultrasound (pHIFU)-enhanced drug penetration.
Nasal vaccine drug delivery: Intramuscular and oral administrations have been the most widely used methods of delivery of vaccines so far. However, to overcome the challenges of needle injuries and to avoid any threat of disease transmission, drug delivery companies are looking for alternative approaches to deliver vaccine through the nasal drug delivery system instead of traditional methods.
Multiple approaches are being taken in laboratories. In 2009, Pune-based Serum Institute of India launched Nasovac, a vaccine for swine flu which is administered through intranasal spray. US-based OptiNose has been doing research in vaccine administration through the nasal system and the company suggests that nasal vaccination has the advantage that elicits both local and systemic immune responses.
Hydrogels-based delivery: The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, Singapore, has developed an injectable biodegradable hydrogel system using enzyme-mediated reaction for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications.
This system does not involve toxic chemicals or reactions in the hydrogel formation process, thus allowing therapeutic proteins, growth factors and cells to be incorporated without damaging the biological molecules.
This system also allows controlling the mechanical strength of the hydrogel, while achieving a rapid gelation rate.
The researchers of the institute claim that this technology has advantages in controlling degradation, drug release and cell proliferation or differentiation, while preventing uncontrolled leakage of the bioactive agents during the gelation process in-vivo.
Polymer-based drug delivery: Drugs conjugated to a polymer backbone at one end and to another molecule, which targets a tumor specific ligand, are being developed for a number of drugs. Targeting ligands on the surface of the carrier, molecules can bind to targets on endothelial cells and can be useful for anti-angiogenesis therapy. MediVas, a San Diego-based biomedical company, has developed a technology for the delivery of biologics and drugs based on next generation set of polymers.
Image-guided drug delivery: In image guided drug delivery, the goal is to optimize and ensure delivery of the therapeutic agent to the target cell or site and provide imaging feedback of the therapeutic protocol. The delivery method is at a relatively nascent stage and many research organizations and universities are working on this platform.