Austin, TX, March, 2016 - Nanohybrids, Inc. has received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the NSF to develop a nanocarrier platform to deliver hydrophobic cancer drugs. Poor solubility of anticancer compounds is a common and serious issue that severely complicates the process of bringing new drugs to market and delivering them to patients without unwanted toxicity. With generous support from the NSF, NanoHybrids will begin translating its nanotechnology research into a new and improved way to package and deliver cancer therapeutics.
Low solubility is frequently cited as a leading barrier to effective anticancer treatments. Even common chemotherapies including paclitaxel, etoposide, and doxorubicin suffer from poor aqueous solubility. The current standard for solubilizing drugs uses high concentrations of co-solvents, which often are responsible for adverse side effects. Additionally, liposome platforms used to mitigate side effects can suffer from inefficient drug loading and unfavorable drug release profiles. Building on expertise in plasmonic nanoparticle products, NanoHybrids may have a solution.
NanoHybrids proposes to shift the paradigm of hydrophobic chemotherapeutics delivery. The NSF funded technology is designed to improve targeted drug release profiles and cancer-killing efficiency. Drug-loaded nanocarriers reach cancer cell targets and payload release is triggered on-demand with near-infrared light. Triggered delivery results in improved endosomal escape and controlled release with minimal side-effects. The optical trigger produces a phase change through vaporization of a perfluorocarbon core, achieving direct delivery to the cancer cell cytosol.
"This platform represents an exciting advance in the delivery of chemotherapy drugs," according to Dr. Deschner, Senior Scientist at NanoHybrids. "This technology can enable successful clinical translation of promising chemotherapeutics whose success would otherwise be prevented due to poor aqueous solubility and reliance on toxic excipients."
The results of the NSF funded work could have significant impact. "The goal is to enhance selectivity, efficacy, and safety of chemotherapeutic drug delivery," says Dr. Deschner. "The technology could be useful in a wide range of cancers."