I have heard of nanotechnology, but was under the impression it was one of those way-out technologies with little if any practical application. It, however, most likely made really great brain food for all the materials scientists of the world, who could now make workable machines that were really, really, really small. And even when Priya Menon asked me to participate in a Cure Panel Broadcast on the subject, I hesitated, not really understanding how this could have any application for multiple myeloma. So I dragged my feet in replying to her email until I at least had a chance to do a little research on the subject. The very first thing that got my attention was that Doxil, a myeloma chemotherapy drug is a product of nanotechnology. The old drug doxorubicin is coated with nanoparticles or as explained on the Doxil web site:
- “STEALTH® technology is composed of lipid nanoparticles that incorporate a polyethylene glycol (PEG) coating. This coating helps evade the potential impact of the immune system and enables STEALTH® technology to provide the precise delivery of drugs to disease-specific areas of the body.”
Another drug for Breast Cancer called Abraxane is an Albumin-Bound Nanoparticle Drug. This is not a new drug but a nano coating of a drug called Taxol, but is twice as effective in the new form than its uncoated sister drug. The same mechanism that delivers more drug to the cancer cell will be used for many other cancer drugs including myeloma therapies. There are also many other developments that Dr. Patri will be presenting.
You might wonder why you have not heard much about this initiative, and for one thing it just began in 2004. As we are all painfully aware, all new drug development can take as much as 10 years or more to get from idea to FDA approval. I found this quote,” The National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognized the value of nanotechnology in oncology applications. In 2004, NCI established the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer (Alliance) by pledging approximately $150 million to the five year initiative to fund a constellation of eight Centers for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence(Centers) and 12 Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnerships (Platforms), together with Multidisciplinary Research Training and Team Development awards (11 awardees) and the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL).”
So now after close to 10 years in the making we are starting to see the fruits of their remarkable work. A short bio of Dr. Patri follows:
I look forward to hearing from you at the broadcast. And as always may God Bless your Myeloma Journey. Gary Petersen