An Overview of Colloidal Drug Carrier Systems: Part 4

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Deb Shechter
Sep 25, 2015
min read
An Overview of Colloidal Drug Carrier Systems: Part 4

In part 1 of our look at different colloidal drug carrier systems used by pharmaceutical researchers around the world, we looked at nanosuspensions and liposomes. In part 2, we explored mixed micelles and colloidal liquid crystalline structures. And in part 3, we focused on microemulsions and nanoemulsions

Today in part 4, we look at nanocapsules and polymer nanoparticles.

  • Nanocapsules

Nanocapsules are nanoparticles that are comprised of two basic components – a shell and space – into which substances or materials can be inserted. Nanocapsules are biocompatible, chemically stable, and able to protect the encapsulated substance or material from unwanted effects (e.g. dissolution in liquids, etc.).   

Generally, the maximum size for a nanocapsule is 100 nm, and they also have a very high penetration capability. In fact, nanocapsules can even penetrate areas of the human body that are “closed”, such as the brain.

In terms of pharmaceutical applications, nanocapsules create “smart drugs” that bind to specific cells, and have certain chemical receptors – thus allowing the drug to target a disease or cancer. Other advantages of nanocapsules for pharmaceutical applications include: longer site-specific dose retention, faster absorption of active drug substances, increased drug bioavailability, higher safety and efficacy, better patient compliance, larger dose loading with smaller dose volumes, reduction in toxic effect, and improved pharmacokinetics.  

  • Polymer nanoparticles

Polymer nanoparticles are solid colloidal particles that range in size from about 10 to 1000 nm. They are used to effectively transmit drugs, proteins and DNA to target organs and cells, and their small size enables them to effectively permeate cell membranes and achieve stability in the blood stream.

In pharmaceutical applications, the drug is dissolved, encapsulated, attached or entrapped within the nanoparticles matrix. However, given their relatively high surface area, the drug may also be absorbed on the surface.

Key advantages of polymer nanoparticles as a colloidal drug carrier system include increased stability of volatile agents, and the fact that drugs can be easily and cost-effectively created in large volumes. They are also relatively more efficacious vs. traditional oral and intravenous methods, and the choice of polymer and the ability to modify drug release makes polymer nanoparticles ideal for use in cancer therapy, delivering vaccines, contraceptives, and delivering targeted antibiotics.   

Pion Technology: Relied on by Pharmaceutical Researchers Worldwide

At Pion, our technology is trusted by pharmaceutical researchers worldwide who need to create nano/micro emulsions and dispersions, lipids and suspensions for a variety of applications, including: injectables, vaccines, targeted drug delivery, inhalants, time release, anesthetics and antibiotics.

We also understand the challenging and sometimes risky journey that pharmaceutical companies take as they bring their important and innovative products to the market.  We are proud to be a part of their success!

Learn more here.

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