A pioneering imaging technique to track the effects of next-generation nanomedicines on patients has been harnessed by a University of Strathclyde academic.
Professor Dr. M. N. V. Ravi Kumar and Dr. Dimitrios Lamprou, of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, believe an advanced form of atomic force microscopy, known as PeakForce QNM, could boost developments in the field of nanomedicines, the encapsulation of potent drugs in tiny particles measuring billionths of a meter in diameter. They described how this detailed imaging approach may also help scientists address growing concerns in the medical world around "nanotoxicology", the build-up of microscopic particles in people's tissues.
Professor Kumar, whose team's research article has been published in the journal PLOS ONE, said: "Nanotechnology's role in drug delivery has the power to transform the way patients are given medicines over the next decade or so.
"In the case of traditional medicines, such as tablets and capsules, only a limited amount of drug thought to be around five to 15 per cent for the majority of compounds makes it through the gut into patients' blood. The good thing about nanomedicines is that unlike as is the case with traditional tablets and capsules the drugs are not released in the gut. Instead, nanomedicines are absorbed intact and release the encapsulated drugs directly into bodily tissues, including the blood, offering the possibility to reduce the required dose without compromising the therapeutic effects.
"All medicines are combined with what are known as 'excipients' inactive substances which give them the desired bulk and consistency and their role is restricted to the gut. However, the excipients such as polymers, used to formulate the nanoparticle-encapsulating drugs may exhibit undesired effects when they are absorbed through the gut wall. Scientists want to know if nanoparticle-based drugs can have any a
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