Drug Delivery – enabling technology for drug discovery and development

Although drug delivery may not attract the attention and press coverage of some of the other disciplines involved in drug discovery, it is equally important in the development of a successful product. Effective drug delivery can be the difference between getting a molecule into clinical trial rather than a chemical sitting in a brown bottle on the shelf, or a forgotten compound languishing in a 96 well storage plate. It can mean the difference between a drug that just wipes its feet in the market and the discovery of a blockbuster.

In this issue of Drug Discovery Today Editor’s Choice, we will be looking at modern developments in drug delivery. The first of our free downloads from Martin J. O’Neill, Ludovic Bourre, Silvia Melgar and Caitriona M. O’Driscoll deals with Intestinal delivery of non-viral gene therapeutics: physiological barriers and preclinical models. This topic is of extreme interest in that many opinion leaders see gene therapy as one of the potentially most profitable of novel approaches to disease treatment. The efficacy and utility of this class of molecules is, however, probably more than any other class of molecules, critically dependant upon the nature of the drug delivery vehicle used. This review examines the use of the intestine as the source of absorption of the gene products, which has advantages in that it allows for (effectively) non-invasive access and the ability to treat directly disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, for example inflammatory bowel disorder. Furthermore, the authors cover the topic of the development of models of gastrointestinal delivery, which will be of paramount importance to the development of approaches for this route of delivery.

The next review in this series deals with the more physiochemical aspects of potential drug delivery tools. Lyotropic liquid crystal systems in drug delivery, by Chenyu Guo, Jun Wang, Fengliang Cao, Robert J. Lee and Guangxi Zhai, is concerned with the use of these systems for the packaging and protection of labile compound in either the aqueous or oil phase and how it could be useful for prolonged release. This article addresses recent advances and current status of reversed cubic and hexagonal mesophases, especially with respect to their preparationand application in the field of drug delivery. The next paper also deals with biomaterials and their application in delivery. Calcium phosphate biomaterials as bone
drug delivery systems: a review, by Elise Verron, Ibrahim Khairoun, Jerome Guicheuxand Jean-Michel Bouler, covers the use of calcium phosphate biomaterials as drug delivery systems and describes the in vitro and in vivo
studies in which these materials have been loaded with various proteins and drugs.
We conclude with a very recent article by Jagat R. Kanwar, Ganesh Mahidhara and Rupinder K. Kanwar on the hot topic of nanomaterials in drug delivery, entitled: Antiangiogenic therapy using nanotechnological-based delivery system. Antiangiogenic approaches to the treatment of cancer have been the focus of a great deal of research and a number of therapeutically important compounds have entered the market in recent times. This review examines the utility of approaches using nanotechnology and cell-penetrating peptides in the delivery of such compounds, protecting their payloads and, hence, improving their therapeutic efficacy.

Steve Carney was born in Liverpool, England studied Biochemistry at Liverpool University, obtaining a BSc.(Hons). He then read for a PhD on the Biochemistry and Pathology of Connective Tissue Diseases in Manchester University. On completion of his PhD he moved to the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London 1, where he worked with Professor Helen Muir FRS on the biochemistry of experimental Osteoarthritis. Later, he joined Eli Lilly and Co. where he stayed for 15 years and held a number of positions in Biology R&D, initially in Connective Tissue, but latterly in Neuroscience. He left Lilly in 2002 to take up his present position as Managing Editor, Drug Discovery Today, at Elsevier. He has authored over 40 peer-reviewed articles, written several book chapters and has held a number of patents.

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