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THE PHARMA REVIEW (NOVEMBER 2009)

Nanotechnology: Its Application in Biopharmacentics

Ajay Kumar, O.P. Gupta and Pavan Malhotra

Introduction: The application of nanotechnology in biopharmaceutics is based on its capability to monitor, repair, construct and control human biological systems at molecular level using engineered devices and nanostructures.
 
Nanotechnology adopts the concept of nanoscale manipulations for application in medical sciences and practice of medicine at the clinical level. It is used for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and to gain an increased understanding of underlying complex disease mechanisms.
 
Nanomaterials empowered drug delivery system and therapeutics are advancing towards a new technologic height not attained before. Innovative research results aim to meet many long standing challenges in pharmaceutical industry, therapeutic and drug delivery levels.
 
The basis of technologic application in biopharmaceutics is Nanoscale Drug Carrying System. The various units of the system are:

1. Liposome System
Among the drug carriers, liposomes have been used since 1960. Liposomes are a sphere of phospholipids, surrounding a hydrophilic center and have unique physical and chemical properties dependent on type of lipid used and process of synthesis. They are biodegradable, non-toxic, amphillic phospholipids that invoke minimal or no antigenic response. The size is a critical factor for any nanoscale delivery system. Particles greater than 100 nm in size are opsonized by phagocytes and must be smaller than vascular pore range of 380-780 nanometers to target specific site of action.
 
Liposomes carrying antibodies or other ligands with affinity for specific targets are under development to enhance the pharmacokinetics. Surface modified liposomes carrying doxorubicin and antisense oligonucleotide system have successfully targeted multidrug resistance associated protein (MRP1), messenger RNA and bcl2 RNA. Once the system reaches the cell it can deliver the doxorubicin and the antisense oligonucleotides successfully and inhibit the synthesis of MRP1 and bc12 RNA and provoke the apoptosis of carcinomatous cell by arousing the caspase (cysteine-aspartic proteases) dependent pathway. Liposomes for this purpose vary between 30 nm to several micrometers in diameter with their characteristics governed by their size, surface composition and charge. 

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