Defining a new approach to developing nanomedicines for cancer therapies

Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews publishes AZ’s thought leading strategy for development of effective nanomedicines

Investment in nanomedicine technology is rapidly expanding, as a result of a desire to develop more specific and effective therapies for cancer. While the technology has made huge strides in recent years, as with all new drug platforms, an appropriate development path is critical to support successful outcomes for patients in the clinic.

Together with world-leading experts in drug delivery, Professor Gert Storm and Professor Twan Lammers, our scientists in Pharmaceutical Science and Oncology iMed have published their perspectives in the May, 2016 online issue of Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews developed through our own efforts to tackle this problem.

To date, successful development and approval of new nanomedicines has been primarily associated with improving therapeutic index, using existing small molecules as active payloads. Little focus has been given to defining the selection, application, and design of the nanomedicine based on tumour biology. Our scientists and their collaborators cite four key areas to improve clinical translation for nanomedicine projects, namely, 1) understanding tumour pathophysiology and its influence on nanomedicine properties, 2) transitioning a mind-set from formulation-driven research to disease-focused development, 3) using appropriate pre-clinical tests with a clear line-of-sight to the clinic, and 4) defining a patient selection criteria.

By building informative data packages using focused design and decision-making strategies like the AstraZeneca 5Rs framework, the team believe this will enhance nanomedicine translation and performance, demonstrating the clinical value of these exciting technologies. At AstraZeneca, we believe investing in the science underpinning disease will allow us to increase the opportunity to harness innovative approaches to bring benefit to patients.

About Nanomedicines

Nanomedicines are a drug delivery technology that are used to package drugs with the aim of improving the delivery and altering the exposure profile in patients. Most anti-cancer nanomedicines are administered intravenously and strive to achieve sustained drug exposure in plasma and tumour for hours to days. A variety of nanomedicine platforms have now been developed, with unique properties that many groups are seeking to exploit to bring new treatments to patients by increasing efficacy or reducing toxic side effects.


  • Science