1. Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon on a Molecular Landscape – Part XI, Cosmeceuticals

    Posted on 14.02.18 Jing Zhou, on Articles, Biologics/biosimilars, Nanomedicine Series

    In previous installments of Nanomedicine, we have discussed the usage of nanoparticles in cancer and other diseases as both diagnostics and therapeutic agents. See, for example, magnetic nanoparticles for theranostics (Part VIII and Part X), quantum dots for bioimaging (Part VII), nanoparticles as cancer biomarkers (Part VI) and for cancer therapy (Part V), and nanoparticles as drug delivery carriers (Part IV).  These applications of nanotechnology not only have attracted increased attention from pharmaceutical companies and academic researchers, but have led to the development of innovative candidatesin clinic trials and even successful products selling in global markets. Beyond this thriving therapeutic field, another huge market for utilizing nanotechnology that might not be as widely recognized, but which already has had a great impact, is the market for cosmeceuticals.

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  2. Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon on a Molecular Landscape – Part X, Magnetic Nanoparticles theranostics II

    Posted on 16.05.17 Jing Zhou, on Articles, Biologics/biosimilars, Nanomedicine Series

    Magnetic nanoparticles are superior imaging contrast agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) due to the intrinsic magnetic properties of nanoparticles. As of 2012, the FDA has approved several MNPs as MRI contrast agents or therapeutic agents: ferumoxides (also known as Feridex in the USA) as an MRI contrast agent for imaging liver lesions; ferucarbotran (also known as Resovist) as MRI contrast agent for imaging liver lesions; ferumoxsil (also known as GastroMARK or Lumirem) as an orally administered MRI contrast agent; and ferumoxytol (also known as Feraheme) as an intravenously administered nanoparticle to treat iron deficiency in adults with chronic kidney disease.

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  3. Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon on a Molecular Landscape – Part IX, Organs-on-a-chip II

    Posted on 11.04.17 Jing Zhou, on Articles, Biologics/biosimilars, Nanomedicine Series

    Recently, Draper announced a three-year agreement with Pfizer. This collaboration focuses on developing effective disease models for testing potential drug candidates based on microphysiological systems, also known as “organs-on-a-chip”.

    The organs-on-a-chip technology is a three-dimensional microfluidic based multi-cell co-culture system that models the physiological, mechanical, and molecular environment of the human body and mimics the physiological functions of human organs. This technology offers unique in vitro disease models for new drug screening and toxicology testing. This technology has attracted attentions not only from academic institutes but also from the pharmaceutical industry. One of the main reasons for this interest is the potential cost and time savings for drug research and the development process. As required by the FDA drug approval process, new drug chemical entities are tested in animals before going into human Phase I testing for the drug approval process. The preclinical animal testing process is tedious and extremely expensive. Additionally, animal models are not always predictive for characterizing drug safety in humans. About 40% of drug compounds fail in Phase I clinical trials (Clinical Development Success Rates 2006-2015, BIO Industry Analysis, June 2016). To address these challenges, organs-on-a-chip has been proposed as a novel method to develop human disease models and replace preclinical animal testing.

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  4. Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon on a Molecular Landscape – Part VIII, Magnetic Nanoparticles theranostics

    Posted on 07.03.17 Jing Zhou, on Articles, Biologics/biosimilars, Nanomedicine Series

    Magnetic nanoparticles, also known as superparamagnetic nanoparticles are small inorganic crystals about 5-20 nm in diameter. Two main classes of MNPs currently used for clinical imaging are ferromagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles and ultrasmall superparameganetic iron oxide nanoparticles (USPION). MNPs are usually multilayer materials, which give them their various properties and functionalities for diagnosis and disease treatment. The structure of iron oxide nanoparticles has three main components: an iron oxide core as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) contrast agent, a biocompatible coating outside the core, and an outer therapeutic coating with specific ligands for biomarker targeting. See (US 8,945,628 by Dr. Ralph Weissleder at Massachusetts General Hospital and US 7,462,446 by Dr. Miqin Zhang at the University of Washington). This unique structure enables MNP accumulation in the sites of interest via biomarker targeting. It further allows the diagnosis of diseases, the evaluation of treatment efficacy, and the localized delivery of drugs and disease therapies. The integration of both diagnostic and therapeutic modalities into one single agent is called a theranostic agent. We will discuss the diagnostic and therapeutic properties of MNPs in cancer.

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  5. Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon on a Molecular Landscape – Part VII, Quantum dots in medicine

    Posted on 13.12.16 Jing Zhou, on Articles, Biologics/biosimilars, Nanomedicine Series

    According to the Allied Market Research report, the global market for quantum dots will grow from about $300 million to over $5 billion dollars in the period from 2013-2020 period. So, what exactly is a quantum dot and how are they useful?

    In 1988, the term “quantum dot” (or “QD” for short) was introduced by Dr. Mark Reed at Yale University to describe nanocrystalline semiconducting fluorophores. Fluorophores are chemical materials that re-emit light when excited by a light pulse. QDs are usually core-shell systems with a semiconductor core enclosed within a shell of another semiconductor material. They usually have confined diameters in the range of 2-20 nanometers (a nanometer is 1 x 10-9 meters) in all three spatial dimensions, resulting in size quantization effects. This size quantization means the band gap (the electron and hole excitation energy levels) of the QD can be “tuned” to provide different light emission frequencies by changing the composition of the QDs and varying their diameters. For example, the larger the QD, the redder, i.e.the lower the energy, emission. Researchers have utilized QDs as efficient materials for advanced photoelectric devices and solar cells. Dr. Arthur Nozik is one of the great leaders in this field (US 4,634,641). During his tenure at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), he led a research group to discover variant semiconductor QDs for novel optical and energy systems (US 8,685,781 and US 9,324,562 ). Additionally the surfaces of QDs can be conjugated to various molecules to vary their physical properties, for example, to increase water solubility, reduce cytotoxicity, and resist reactive oxygen formation. The QDs can also be conjugated with specific molecules to target tumor biomarkers. These unique physical properties and the surface chemical modification of QDs have attracted increasing attention to applications in bio-imaging (reviewed in Part VI), bio-analytical assays and diagnostics, as well as the development of new therapeutic agents.

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  6. Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon on a Molecular Landscape – Part VI, Nanoparticles as Cancer Biomarkers

    Posted on 27.09.16 Jing Zhou, on Biotech/Pharma, Nanomedicine Series, Recent News & Articles

    A critical step to effectively fighting cancer is detecting it at a very early stage. Currently the clinical diagnosis of cancer mainly relies on imaging techniques such as X-ray, mammography, ultrasound, endoscopy, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and histopathology [e.g., examination of a tissue biopsy under a microscope]). However, these techniques often cannot distinguish differences between healthy and diseased cells/tissues at the early stage of cancer, when the malignancy of tissues are not sufficiently visible, but the alternation of far more subtle protein and molecular markers due to the cancer have already presented. Although notable successful techniques have been developed in the molecular analysis such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), these techniques are labor intensive, involving complex operational procedures, and requiring high stability of reagents. Therefore, the market is calling to develop new techniques and tools to enhance the biomarker detection at the very early stages of cancer.

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  7. Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon on a Molecular Landscape – Part V, Nanoparticle Cancer Therapy

    Posted on 09.08.16 Jing Zhou, on Articles, Biotech/Pharma, Nanomedicine Series

    Nanoparticles, due to their unique structure, often possess an enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. These particles can preferentially accumulate in tumors, resulting in higher drug concentrations at targeted sites and consequently higher therapeutic efficacy with lower toxicity for surrounding normal tissue. Also nanoparticle carriers can be designed to encapsulate and deliver cancer drugs having poor water solubility. These favorable characteristics render nanoparticles as promising potential delivery systems for cancer therapies.

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  8. Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon on a Molecular Landscape – Part IV, Drug Delivery via Nanomedicine

    Posted on 06.07.16 Jing Zhou, on Articles, Biotech/Pharma, Nanomedicine Series, Recent News & Articles

    For clinical therapeutics, there is a great need to develop new approaches to fight chronic and incurable diseases and further improve the efficiency of medical treatments. The current research focus and opportunities for nanomedicine in therapeutics include the development of rapid and accurate analytical techniques, safe and targeted drug delivery systems, improved controlled drug release systems, and the discovery of alternative and innovative therapeutic methods. In this article, I will specifically discuss the use of nanoparticles for drug delivery.

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  9. Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon on a Molecular Landscape – Part III, Organs-on-a-chip

    Posted on 19.05.16 Jing Zhou, on Articles, Biologics/biosimilars, Nanomedicine Series, Patent Trends & Activity

    This is the third article in a review series of “Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon on a Molecular Landscape”. In Part I we discussed the major research and development areas in the field. Then, we briefly introduced some representative research groups and companies and their patents in nanomedicine (Part II). Here, we will start the discussion about the diagnostic applications of nanomedicine.

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  10. Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon on a Molecular Landscape – Part II, Key Research

    Posted on 08.04.16 Jing Zhou, on Articles, Biotech/Pharma, Nanomedicine Series, Patent Trends & Activity

    In the last article, “Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon from a Molecular Landscape-Part I, Introduction,” I briefly introduced the new and exciting field of “Nanomedicine” and reviewed the current funding support and areas of research and development. In this installment, I will first focus on representative companies and organizations and their researchers, and then close with a review of key interesting patents in this field.

    Nanomedicine Companies

    The state of Connecticut has committed significant resources in support of new innovation in bioscience and nanomedicine. Through Connecticut Innovations (“CI”), the state’s quasi-government investment fund, the state has two focused support programs: the Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund (“CBIF”) and the Regenerative Medicine Research Fund (“RMRF”), to facilitate the transition of bench-top innovation towards commercialization. Through CBIF, for example, the state is committed to investing $200 million over 10 years to support the research and development of local research institutes and entrepreneurs in bioscience. . These state initiatives continue to encourage the growth of nanomedicine companies.

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