The field of nanotherapeutics is the application of nanotechnology to medicine and drug development.
Nanocapsules are vesicles composed of a polymer membrane surrounding an inner core of a desired substance. Successful commercialization of nanocapsule products include Abraxane, Combidex and DuanoXome. Healthcare is the primary application but other applications include food and nutraceuticals, cosmetics and agricultural production. Therapeutic applications include oncology, pain management and endocrinology. Key players in the nanocapsule maret include BioDelivery Sciences, Camurus, CARLINA Technologies, Cerulean Pharma Inc., NanoNutra, NanoSphere Health Science, and L’OrealOreal.Nanocapsules have been formed using graphite, silica, protein and lipids.
A nanosponge is a technology being developed to overcome problems in drug delivery such as solubility, bio-availability and to allow the precise control of drug release. Nanosponges are tiny mesh-like structures less than 1 m in size that can load hydrophilic and lipophilic drugs. Nanosponges circulate until reaching the defined target site, attach and initiate discharge of drugs in a controlled manner. Parenteral, topical, oral or inhalational dosing can be developed with nanosponges.