R&D Profile: Nanotech for Drug Delivery: M. Amiji, PhD
At NSTI Nanotech 2008, Dr. Amiji is a co-organizer of the NCI/NSTI Cancer Nanotechnology Symposium and he will also present on Nanotechnology For Cancer Therapy: Promises and Problems.
Dr. Amiji is a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences,_Associate Chairman, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and_Co-Director, Nanomedicine Education and Research Consortium (NERC)_Northeastern University. Dr. Amiji received his undergraduate degree in pharmacy from Northeastern University in 1988 and his PhD in pharmaceutics from Purdue University in 1992. His areas of specialization include polymeric biomaterials, advanced drug delivery systems, and nanomedical technologies. Dr. Amiji’s research has received sustained funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), foundations, and local industries.
At NSTI Nanotech 2008, Dr. Amiji is a co-organizer of the NCI/NSTI Cancer Nanotechnology Symposium and he will also present on Nanotechnology For Cancer Therapy: Promises and Problems. Below is an exclusive preview of his talk, which outlines the work his team at Northeastern University over the last 10 years in developing nano-enabled delivery systems for cancer diagnostics and treatment, and the promise nanotechnology holds for effective cancer treatment.
Cancer is a disease process resulting in uncontrolled growth of cells and tissues in the body. The disease is characterized by mutations caused either by either genetic, environmental, or lifestyle factors. Through parallel developments in understanding the molecular basis of cancer and sophisticated engineered nanotechnology, there is an unprecedented opportunity in prevention, early diagnosis, and selective rationale therapy.
Over the last few years, our group at Northeastern University has utilized a variety of different nano-platforms for drug and gene delivery to tumors, including:
- Synthetic and natural polymers, such as poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL), poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA), poly(beta-amino esters) (PbAE), gelatin, and chemically modified gelatin for preparation of nanoparticles (1-6).
- Using oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) for preparation of the nanoemulsions, and
- RNA interference and gene therapy. For gene therapy, specific and efficient administrations of DNA constructs that can be internalized in target cells and undergo the necessary cellular transport process, nuclear import, transcription, and translation to produce the therapeutic protein has significant implications in treatment of cancer and other diseases.
Source: Nanotech 2007 Vol. 2
Despite these promising nano-platforms, the number of nanotechnology-based products available for routine clinical use in cancer therapy is fairly limited. Some of the examples include doxorubicin encapsulated in long-circulating liposomes (Doxil®) and paclitaxel in albumin nanoparticles (Abraxane®). In 2005, the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s Alliance in Nanotechnology (see http://nano.cancer.gov) initiated an ambitious plan to support preclinical nanotechnology-based cancer diagnostic and therapeutic strategies by providing up to $145 million in funding for five year period. One of major goals of the Alliance is to facilitate clinical translation of these concepts from various academic and industrial sectors in order to benefit cancer patients.
I see the major barriers to clinical translation of nanotechnology-based products are mainly focused on scale-up and manufacturing issues as well as certain critical safety concerns. Based on the advantages and certain challenges for nanotechnology-based delivery system, judicious selection of safe materials and products for initial pre-clinical and clinical evaluation will be essential. Success of “trailblazer” nano-products will be critical in educating the various stake-holders on strategies for future developments of more sophisticated technologies and have profound impact on cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
- L. E. van Vlerken, T. K. Vyas, and M. M. Amiji. Poly(ethylene glycol)-modified nanocarriers for tumor-targeted and intracellular delivery. Pharm Res 24: 1405-14 (2007)
- H. Devalapally, D. Shenoy, S. Little, R. Langer, and M. Amiji. Poly(ethylene oxide)-modified poly(beta-amino ester) nanoparticles as a pH-sensitive system for tumor-targeted delivery of hydrophobic drugs: part 3. Therapeutic efficacy and safety studies in ovarian cancer xenograft model. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 59: 477-84 (2007).
- D. Shenoy, S. Little, R. Langer, and M. Amiji. Poly(ethylene oxide)-modified poly(beta-amino ester) nanoparticles as a pH-sensitive system for tumor-targeted delivery of hydrophobic drugs. 1. In vitro evaluations. Mol Pharm 2: 357-66 (2005).
- S. B. Tiwari and M. M. Amiji. Improved oral delivery of paclitaxel following administration in nanoemulsion formulations. J Nanosci Nanotechnol 6: 3215-21 (2006).
- S. B. Tiwari and M. M. Amiji. A review of nanocarrier-based CNS delivery systems. Curr Drug Deliv 3: 219-32 (2006).
- L. E. van Vlerken, Z. Duan, M. V. Seiden, and M. M. Amiji. Modulation of intracellular ceramide using polymeric nanoparticles to overcome multidrug resistance in cancer. Cancer Res 67: 4843-50 (2007).