Nanoscale drug delivery system promises breakthrough in cancer treatment  

2006.09.11
Danish biotech firm Liplasome Pharma has developed a nanoscale drug delivery system which could make anticancer drugs more effective while reducing their side effects

Based on research from the Technical University of Denmark, the Danish biotech firm Liplasome Pharma has developed a nanoscale drug delivery system which could make anticancer drugs far more effective while reducing their side effects. Initial tests in humans are now awaited following successful tests in mice.

The concept involves loading the anticancer drug into lipid based nanocarriers called Liplasomes, which are just 100 nanometers in diameter [a nanometre is a millionth of a millimeter – Ed]. The lipid coating around the drug is broken down much more easily by cancer cells than by normal cells, so the effect of the released drug is concentrated on the tumour rather than on healthy tissue.

Tests of the new concept in mice showed that the drug concentration at the tumour was 10 times higher with the Liplasome method than with conventional chemotherapy. This suggests that with Liplasomes, the amount of drug administered can be significantly reduced and thus reduce the level of side effects – although this cannot be predicted with certainty.

The drug will now enter Phase 1 trials in up to 30 cancer patients to establish whether it has any serious adverse effects. It is first in Phase 2 trials that the quantitative effect on tumours is studied, and it could be two years before this phase is reached. The news was reported by the professional journal Ingeniøren (The Engineer).

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