Cecilia Van Cauwenberghe from Frost & Sullivan’s TechVision Group explains cutting-edge technology synergy in the personalised nanomedicine space, with a special focus on pharmaceutical nanomanufacturing
In terms of understanding nanomedicine space in the personalised medicine context, this is inherently an interdisciplinary research field that involves the application of nanotechnology to medicine. Nanomedicine has been significantly energised during the past five years with the advent of new technology innovations across many industries. The nanomedicine space has been as well re-shaped to better adapt to the precision medicine era
Personalised medicine looks for developing specific treatments based on direct omics-based data from either an individual patient or a group of individuals with common characteristics or a cohort. Personalised treatments take into consideration genetic and phenotypic factors, along with environmental aspects that are expected to impact upon therapy response and further evolution. Nanomedicine is prone to have a magnificent impact precisely on the field of personalised medicine in the near future, mainly due to its design flexibility and target versatility to adjust a drug to a specific cohort of patients, while providing superior specificity and efficacy.
The exciting nanoscale world
In a review paper on nanomedicine published during the past year (Fornaguera and García-Celma, 2017), the authors categorise several common advantages of nanomedicines among conventional therapies, despite the nanoparticle type and origin (polymeric, magnetic, liposome, vesicle, etc.). According to the authors, such attributes are mainly related to their nanoscale dimensions, target specificity, application versatility, labile actives encapsulation and protection, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics alteration, biological barriers penetration (e.g. blood-brain-barrier), design customisation for particular cohorts and treatment plans (e.g., dosage, frequency, timeline), easy surveillance and adherence, among many other features. However, all these properties can be enhanced or better applied through the introduction of novel and innovative technologies across the entire nanomedicine value chain.
Unveiling pharmaceutical nanomanufacturing
Electrohyrodynamic atomization (EHDA) or electrospraying enables the fabrication of nanoparticles by the application of an external electric force. This method can be easily multiplexed and scaled up. The therapeutic product and the polymer are infused through a nozzle to be subjected to a high voltage, so that, the electrically charged solution is broken into smaller droplets. These droplets are then reduced to nanoparticles by solvent evaporation. One of the main advantages of EHDA is that both hydrophobic and hydrophilic drugs can be encapsulated efficiently, while particle size and size distribution can be exceptionally controlled at the nanoscale (Labbaf et al., 2014; Agrahari and Agrahari, 2018). The main therapeutic applications associated with this nanomanufacturing technique are related to anti-cancer chemotherapy, due to it facilitating the targeted delivery of powerful chemotherapeutics with precise payload and release control (Parhizkar et al., 2017; Sengupta, 2017).
Nanofibers have revolutionised healthcare through its application to a plethora of biomedical functions including filtration, nanobiosensors within smart textiles and wearables, wound healing patches, tissue engineering and regeneration scaffolds, as well as drug delivery harpoons (Parhizkar et al., 2018). Pressurised gyration simultaneously applies a high rotating speed and a great working pressure to spin nanofibers and nanofibrous structures, hence presenting a high surface area to volume ratio, flexibility and surface functional properties. Similarly, pressurised gyration can also generate microbubbles that hold an enhanced stability and capability to optically tune infrared and visible wavelength ranges (Van Cauwenberghe, 2015). These characteristics make microbubbles potentially applicable for nanotherapeutics surveillance through bioimaging markers and other nanobiosensing approaches (Rajan, 2017).
The identification of new nanoparticle materials and nanostructures manufacturing is crucial to empower nanopharmaceuticals. Delivering therapeutic agents to the target tumour sites is the priority in most of ongoing nanomedicine projects today. Parallel trends in nanomanufacturing, with the advent of 3D printing technologies and advanced manufacturing techniques such as electrohyrodynamic atomization and pressurised gyration, are gaining attention in the construction of novel nanotech systems and the rational design of nanoparticles based on an in-depth understanding of the behaviour of nanoparticles. The market is significantly reflecting those investigational trends with the appearance of new commercially available products and a large number of nanocompounds in clinical development. Anti-cancer therapies are certainly the most targeted applications in nanomedicine products, followed by neuroscience and diverse drug delivery products. More than 47% of nanomedicine products in development are related to acutely life-threatening conditions, mostly advanced cancers.
I would like to thank all contributors from industry involved with the development and delivery of this article from the TechVision Group at Frost & Sullivan.
Fornaguera, C. and García-Celma, M.J., 2017. Personalized nanomedicine: a revolution at the nanoscale. Journal of personalized medicine, 7(4), p.12.
Agrahari, V. and Agrahari, V., 2018. Novel Nanotherapeutic Strategies: Fabrication Approaches, Application and Clinical Challenges.
Labbaf, S., Ghanbar, H., Stride, E., and Edirisinghe, M., 2014. Preparation of multilayered polymeric structures using a novel four-needle coaxial electrohydrodynamic device. Macromol. Rapid Commun. 35, 618–623.
Parhizkar, M., Reardon, P.J., and Knowles, J.C., 2017. Performance of novel high throughput multi electrospray systems for forming of polymeric micro/nanoparticles. Materials & Design 126, 73–84.
Parhizkar, M., Mahalingam, S., Homer-Vanniasinkam, S. and Edirisinghe, M., 2018. Latest developments in innovative manufacturing to combine nanotechnology with healthcare.
Rajan, B., 2017. Technologies Enabling Super-resolution Biomedical Imaging – Redrawing the Boundaries of Medical Imaging. Frost & Sullivan TechVision Analysis. D7B5.
Sengupta, D., 2017. Innovations in Transdermal Drug Delivery – Microneedle Technologies Creating Novel Opportunities in Transdermal Drug Delivery Industry. Frost & Sullivan TechVision Analysis. D807.
Van Cauwenberghe, C., 2015. Trends in Nanomedicine – Nano-based science paving the precision medicine era. Frost & Sullivan TechVision Analysis. D6C0.
Cecilia Van Cauwenberghe, PhD, MSc, BA
Associate Fellow and Senior Industry Analyst
TechVision Group, Frost & Sullivan