Vadodara: A study conducted by a team from the Faculty of Pharmacy at MS University promises safer treatment for patients battling lung cancer.
The researchers have developed a new drug delivery system that ensures that 80% of anti-cancer drugs reach their target – the lungs – rather than other organs of the body, often resulting in multiple side effects.
For the invention of this new nano-based formulation, Dr. Hetal Thakkar and her PhD student Dr. Rahul Dhande received a patent from the Indian government.
The patented invention is called “pegylated spherulites of anti-cancer active ingredients.”
“Currently the biggest problem in cancer treatment is the non-specific distribution of the drugs. When treating a patient with lung cancer, you want the cancer drugs to target the lungs. But since such cancer drugs also reach other organs of the body, it results in serious side effects such as anemia, thrombocytopenia, arrhythmias and alopecia,” says Thakkar.
The researchers formulated pegylated spherulites from two anticancer drugs – gemcitabine hydrochloride and vinorelbine tartarate, which are already used in the treatment of lung cancer.
“Pegylated spherulites are nanocarriers. In layman’s terms, nano-sized spherulites provide a coating on the cancer drugs,” she said. The researchers evaluated the efficiency of the new formulation using several in vitro and in vivo studies conducted at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, a Delhi-based Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) laboratory. ).
The in vivo studies in rats indicated preferential accumulation of the formulation in the lungs and negligible distribution to the other organs.
“In fact, more than 80% reached the lungs. This proved that the formulation we developed offered a safer alternative to conventional lung cancer treatment. The new formulation helps with targeted delivery of the drugs without serious side effects,” she said.
“We were waiting for the patent to be granted. Now any drug company that produces cancer drugs can conduct human trials so that patients suffering from lung cancer receive safer treatment,” she added.
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