Nanotechnology offers multiple benefits in the treatment of chronic human diseases
Part of the work of psychedelic therapies is to find new ways to deliver the psychedelic precisely where it is needed in the human brain. And that turned out to be tricky.
This is to circumvent the blood-brain barrier put in place to protect the brain from any substance present in the blood and likely to damage it. According to a study, the blood-brain barrier and the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier protect the central nervous system from harmful substances and pose the main problems in drug delivery.
Many bioactive molecules from natural sources have a large molecular size, hence a low ability to cross the lipid membrane (a form of barrier around all cells) and a low absorptive capacity, ultimately resulting in bioavailability. and reduced efficiency. Hence the need for extremely small molecules in some sort of delivery vehicle that can increase the bioavailability of a pharmaceutical product.
This is where nanomedicine comes in. Nanomedicine refers to the applications of nanotechnology for the treatment, diagnosis, monitoring and control of biological systems. According to a study, nanomedicines have been used to solve problems related to the treatment of neurological disorders and have an advantage over conventional central nervous system therapy.
It is the branch of medicine that uses the science of nanotechnology in the treatment of various diseases by using nanoscale materials such as biocompatible nanoparticles and nanorobots for various applications.
Nanotechnology, which makes reference to the manipulation of matter at the atomic or molecular level, has been seen as a new platform for the treatment of neurological disorders. Molecules can be engineered at the nanoscale to perform multiple specific functions, such as crossing the blood-brain barrier, targeting specific cells or signaling pathways, serving as a vehicle for gene delivery, and promoting nerve regeneration and cell survival.
Lipid-based nanocarriers have been shown to improve the oral bioavailability of certain drugs in animals, including anticancer drugs, antivirals, cardiovascular drugs, and central nervous system drugs. But there's still work to be done on their design, they have to overcome issues in the human stomach, like stomach acid, to hit their target.
Nanotechnology offers multiple benefits in the treatment of chronic human disease, enabling the delivery of precise, site-specific and target-specific drugs to treat mental health conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease – therapies that need a better way to cross the blood-brain barrier to be effective.
This method of administering drugs has made progress. The FDA has approved 41 nanoformulated drugs for the treatment of various diseases, including multiple sclerosis, prostate cancer, hemophilia, breast cancer, and hepatitis, among others.
And there is a wide range of pharmaceutical nanocarriers including liposomes, solid-liquid nanoparticles (SNPs), micelles, dendrimers and a few others that have been developed.
But there is still a lot to know about nanoparticles and how they work inside the human brain. For example, there are concerns about the toxicity of this method of administration. The researchers are optimistic and conclude that the future use of nanotechnology in drug delivery to the central nervous system – the goal of psychedelics – “holds great promise” and “opens new avenues in the treatment of neurological disorders, as it has the potential to fundamentally revolutionize the way we approach CNS-targeted therapies, due to the nano-engineered ability of drugs/carriers to cross the blood-brain barrier, diffuse into brain tissue , to target specific cells or signaling systems to deliver the therapies”.
Nanotechnology is already used in drug therapies against cancer. In fact, the first nanotechnology-based cancer drugs have passed regulatory review and are already on the market, including Doxil and Abraxane.
Some psychedelic companies are beginning to explore the promise of nanotechnology. For example, Toronto-based NanoPsy, Inc. is reportedly using nanotechnology to improve the effectiveness of psychedelic drugs. Their patented nanotechnology, combined with their technological methods of targeted delivery and controlled dosing, makes it possible to increase the solubility/absorption of these psychedelic molecules.
There will probably be more applications to come. Nanotechnology is "a multidisciplinary scientific field that is experiencing explosive development", concludes a study.