Small revolution: nanotech to be the next big thing in cancer drug delivery, report

By Anthony King

- Last updated on GMT

Small revolution: nanotech to be the next big thing in cancer drug delivery, report

Related tags Drug delivery Pharmacology

More cancer drugs are going to be delivered using nanoparticles according to Frost & Sullivan, which says research breakthroughs are going to drive adoption of such technologies.

The global oncology drug delivery market – or oncolytics – was worth $91bn (€85bn) in 2013 and has been expanding at an annual rate of 5%.  The market was estimated by the report to vault $95bn in 2014, which includes delivery systems for cancer therapy and pain

Nanoscale drug delivery started attracting the manufacturers since 1970s, when it was tested on lipid vesicles for drug delivery​” notes Siddharth Dutta, report author and life sciences analyst with Frost & Sullivan.

Nano drug delivery system has been reported to have lesser toxic side effects, increase specific localization, better and modulated pharmacokinetics and better patient compliance. These factors are expected to drive the market in a major way​.”

Cancer injectables

Today, in the oncology drug delivery segment, injectable technologies hold a 74% share of the total market, while orals are at 24% and others like patches and sprays has just a 1% share.

However, “the market is undergoing a strong makeover with conventional syringes getting replaced by pre-filled cartridges, pens and other new forms of delivery methods​,” according to Dutta, who said “the future of injectable market may see the growth of micro-needles or transdermal patch segment​.”

There are several key systems in demand, according to Dutta. “West Pharmaceuticals currently markets hand-held drug delivery systems, including the SmartDose electronic wearable injector, first wearable bolus injector to be studied in a clinical setting, the SelfDose injector, and the ConfiDose auto-injector.”

Asked about up-and-coming technologies, Dutta said West Pharmaceutical Services and HealthPrize Technologies’ have combined the latter’s IT programme with an injectable delivery system “that will track when patients take their medication, and educate and engage them to increase adherence and medical literacy​.”


He also highlighted the Essemblix Drug Development Platform, nanodaisies, nano-cacoons, and micro bubble liposome particle delivery as some of the potential game changing technologies of the future.

Parbon’s Essemblix Drug Development Platform shall allow researchers to use the CAD software to design molecular pieces with specific, functional components that are required to develop a new drug-delivery agent. The CAD software optimizes the design using a cloud supercomputing platform, which then uses the proprietary algorithms to search for specific sets of DNA sequences that can self-assemble those components​.”

This technology can be considered unique as it will allow the scientist to chemically synthesize trillions of similar copies of the designed molecules. The process from conception to production can be performed within weeks or even days. This technology can be used to produce sequences much faster than traditional drug discovery techniques.”​ 

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