Biotechnology and nanomedicines: a potential with multiple aspects.
When we talk about galenic innovation, we think today of the use of nanotechnologies, an innovative way of transporting therapeutic molecules to a diseased organ, tissue or cell. “This is a major challenge for the treatment of human diseases, particularly infectious, cancerous or of genetic origin,” explains Nathalie Masson.
This biotechnological revolution is in fact transforming the way drugs are administered, as Nathalie Masson points out. “Nanoparticles will enable to better target tumours eligible for radiotherapy and to limit side effects in order to preserve non-cancerous cells. In the future, nanorobots capable of swimming in the bloodstream will also be able to deliver highly targeted treatments or attack cancer cells”.
Its applications can be used for many pathologies, whether severe, infectious or chronic. For example, diabetics, for whom “the nanorobot will be programmed to release insulin when blood sugar levels rise. It will also detect the development of tumours and can kill diseased cells in a matter of seconds”.
In the near future, its capabilities will be multiple, analyses Nathalie Masson: “Carrying oxygen instead of failing red blood cells, “eating” cholesterol present in the arteries, or monitoring the body (blood pressure, temperature, blood flow) after an organ transplant, for example”.
Although we will have to wait a few more years to see these advances become reality, it should be noted that the preliminary results are promising, especially since these technologies are evolving very quickly.
The blood-meningeal barrier: a new avenue of research
Gaining a better understanding of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and how it works is another area of research to which the teams are turning today,” says Nathalie Masson. “The BBB is a real obstacle that is almost impossible to overcome, isolating and protecting the brain from harmful substances but also preventing certain drugs from reaching their brain targets. It has therefore become the ultimate barrier to be conquered, so that drug candidate molecules cross this border in sufficient quantities to have an effective action on the brain, especially since certain natural molecules, alcohol, nicotine, drugs and certain hydrophilic drugs can cross this barrier. In return, the BBB cleans and removes neural waste.
Will we be able to imagine one day how to deliver drugs directly to a specific area in the brain, significantly improving the effectiveness of therapies? We already know that ultrasound can momentarily open the barrier by disrupting the lipid organization of membranes and that this technique allows molecules (drugs, antibodies, etc.) to enter the brain.
Progress is on the march!
A challenge for research: meeting the main challenges of tomorrow; compliance and the management of side effects
According to the Cercle de Réflexion de l’Industrie Pharmaceutique (CRIP), 15 million French people are today suffering from a chronic disease. Among them, only 40% follow their doctor’s recommendations and take their treatment correctly.
The lack of compliance is often linked to the side effects of medication.
According to Nathalie Masson, “different strategies can be considered to reduce them:
– the combination of treatments already known but not yet associated would simplify the dosage,
– galenic innovation that could reduce the risks of toxicity
– the use of non-chemical substances such as bacteria from our intestinal microbiota or non-pathogenic bacteriophages or viruses would make it possible to treat infectious diseases without antibiotics”.
New solutions for each new challenge. These are the priorities of Unither’s research: to help patients live better with their disease by continuing to lead a life as normal as possible by offering them the best technologies and discoveries.
Tomorrow’s patients will thus be able to be supported throughout their treatment “thanks to digital technological solutions combined with cutting-edge medical expertise to monitor side effects, manage symptoms, recommend doses, etc., with remote monitoring by the healthcare team”.
This is already the case in the treatment of diabetics with the artificial pancreas. “Thanks to a blood glucose sensor with its calculation software, a pump infusing insulin, all embedded in a small box, allows an algorithm to interpret the data from the sensor to calculate the quantity of insulin to be injected.
For Nathalie Masson, the most interesting revolutions for patients will undoubtedly come from telemedicine with the advent of software that will allow them to be more autonomous in the management of their disease. “Today, people suffering from chronic diseases have to increase the number of hospital visits to monitor their treatment and update their prescriptions. This is a constraint for the patient and also a significant cost for the healthcare system.
The challenges to be met today are therefore many and varied. Nathalie Masson explains: “First of all, it is a question of reconciling innovation and increasingly demanding regulations for the development of new drugs. Then we must offer innovative formulations with reasonable industrial cost prices that are aligned with health policies.Those regulations control global healthcare costs and especially drug-related costs. Finally, the last challenge is to take advantage of the advent of big data to develop tomorrow’s medicines in a different way and to move increasingly towards personalized medicines. This implies forging partnerships with digital and/or biotech players to exploit the extraordinary mass of data from connected health objects, social networks and genome sequencing””“. Thanks to the collaboration of doctors and pharmacists with an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, Unither is a forward-looking creator of galenic innovation, committed to designing affordable, easy-to-use and innovative products to improve the lives of patients/consumers. Unither is already anticipating tomorrow, heading towards a revolution for patients and public health.