Nanomedicine products are reaching places that have been out of reach for other methods of drug delivery systems, quite literally so. Nanomedicines have proven that they hold a worthy place in the new bunch of medicinal breakthroughs that are addressing several unmet needs of patients worldwide. From acutely targeted drug delivery inside the brain to improved bioavailability, nanomedicines are making undreamed-of applications a reality. But most of all, nanomedicine products are being touted as the star performers in cancer treatment.
According to business intelligence firm, Transparency Market Research (TMR), nanomedicine products are expected to constitute a market worth US$177.60 bn by 2019. Of this, revenues from the oncology application segment alone are expected to stand at an impressive US$65.51 bn by the same year. Between 2012 and 2019, the oncology application segment would have clocked more than a twofold growth in value in the nanomedicine market, TMR states.
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When one considers the fact that the number of approved nanomedicine products to treat cancer are the highest on the commercial market, it is easy to gather why oncology will be such a valued application segment for companies in the nanomedicine products market.
Which areas look the most exciting for the use of nanomedicine in cancer treatment?
The development and successful use of nanomedicine to help drugs cross the blood brain barrier and reach the desired area within brain tumors is has garnered a lot of interest in the last couple of years.
Besides, there is a palpable interest in developing combination therapy for brain cancer using nanomedicine. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, for example, reported that they were able to effectively target cancer cells using a supramolecular nanotherapeutic that combined the docetaxel, a chemotherapy drug, and a PI3K inhibitor. This approach could help in more effective tumor inhibition.
Which are the other emerging trends on the horizon?
Because nanotechnology can be used in a myriad different ways, its uses in drug development and delivery are virtually limitless. Nanovaccinology could make a sizeable contribution to the global vaccines market, which, according to the WHO, was worth US$24 bn in 2013. The unmatched targeting capabilities of nanovaccines could make drugs far more efficient in terms of both speed and action.
The spiraling number of diabetics worldwide would also be a massive opportunity for companies in the nanomedicine market. Nanomedicine could help usher in a new way of administering insulin with the development of nano-pumps and targeted insulin delivery using nanoparticles.
Scientists are also keenly working on finding targeted therapies for HIV using nanotechnology. A team of scientists at the University of Liverpool, for instance, has focused its research efforts on developing new oral HIV therapies centered on the Solid Drug Nanoparticle (SDN), a technology that can enhance the absorption of a drug by the body, making HIV treatments more effective and economical.
While there is little to stop the nanomedicine market from flourishing, the couple of downsides that do exist could morph into a bigger threat if not addressed in time. The most important challenge currently is for companies to tackle the environmental and toxicological issues associated with nanomedicine.