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Getting the cure where it needs to go
November 2015
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author
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Everyone, I presume, has at least one co-worker, friend or family member who can’t tell a joke to save his or her life. Or maybe you’re that person. And much of that goes back to the saying “Delivery is everything.”
 
Well, it may not be everything but it certainly is critical in therapeutic circles in terms of getting patients to embrace therapies and comply with treatments, or even to convince healthcare professionals to want to administer them. I mean, it isn’t likely your drug or biologic is going to attain blockbuster status if it’s a suppository the size of a kumquat. Unless it cures cancer with no side effects or disintegrates all excess body fat.
 
I’ve always seen drug delivery as a part of our editorial coverage, but in the physical magazine, rarely does that topic find a good home in any of the news sections. So, I thought I might provide a quick special delivery of recent delivery news.
 
Biodegradable implant could heal bones
 
A paper written by researchers at Beaumont Hospital—Royal Oak in Michigan for the journal Nanomedicine discussed how a plastic derived from cornstarch combined with a volcanic ash compound, Montmorillonite clay, could help heal the bones of hundreds of thousands of patients with orthopedic injuries who need bone replacement after tumor removal, spinal fusion surgery or fracture repair.
 
Traditional bone grafts often involve surgeons removing bone from another part of the patient’s body to encourage new bone growth and healing at the injury site, but this can cause complications at the harvest site. Some surgeons also use bone donated from cadavers, but there is a limited supply of such donor bones available. Using a synthetic material could lead to a reduction in the surgery complication rate.
 
Another goal in this method is to use the material without any additional permanent hardware placed in a patient’s body. Current procedures often require a metal or non-resorbable plastic implant because traditional bone grafts are not strong enough without the added support.
 
Capsugel launches enTRinsic delivery platform
 
New Jersey-based Capsugel, which focuses on high-quality, innovative dosage forms and solutions for the healthcare industry, announced this month the global commercial launch of its enTRinsic drug delivery technology platform, saying: “This first-of-its-kind innovation provides full enteric protection and targeted release of gastric acid- and heat-sensitive active ingredients to the upper gastrointestinal tract, without the need for functional coatings.”
 
The intent is to enable oral delivery of a variety of compounds—among them vaccines, proteins and peptides—using pharmaceutically approved enteric polymers. The technology is now globally available for customer projects following the successful completion of an 18-month lead-user customer-collaboration program that included feasibility studies with new and existing pharmaceutical products.
 
Intestine-specific delivery of insulin shows promise
 
An intestinal patch device containing insulin that can be swallowed in the form of a capsule, which is in development by researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara has demonstrated efficacy of blood glucose management in diabetic rats.
 
Dr. Samir Mitragotri, a professor at the university, and Amrita Banerjee, a postdoctoral fellow, developed patches made of mucoadhesive polymers loaded with insulin and an intestinal permeation enhancer, then placed the patch devices in enteric-coated capsules. Once in the intestine, the patch-containing pills are specially designed to dissolve, releasing the patches so that they can attach to the intestinal wall for site-specific delivery of the insulin.
 
Radiotherapeutic bandage for skin cancer
 
A radiotherapeutic bandage is being evaluated by researchers for efficacy against squamous cell carcinoma  in an animal model. These results could confirm the viability of a new and improved strategy for the radiotherapeutic treatment of skin cancer in the clinic. Bhuvaneswari Koneru, a graduate student, and Yi Shi, a postdoctoral research associate, incorporated nanoparticles containing inactivated 166Ho into polymers based on a method called electrospinning, which uses an electrical charge to create thin fibers from a liquid and make the bandages. Immediately prior to therapy, they activated the 166Ho-containing polymers allowing the bandages to become radioactive, achieving a level of radioactivity similar to conventional radiation. The bandages were placed on mice with SCC for one hour, and the animal’s resulting tumor sizes were measured for up to 15 days in all treatment and control groups to determine efficacy.
 
All of which reminds me—have you heard this one? An inhaler, an implantable infusion pump and a time-release tablet walk into an outpatient clinic...
 
Nah? Oh well, I’ll keep working on my material, then.

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