Nanotechnology: a key tool for developing new drugs

Nanotechnology is a field that has revolutionised the pharmaceutical industry. The ability to manipulate materials on a scale as tiny as nanometres allows scientists to create drug delivery systems that make them more effective in treating disease and safer for the patient.

In fact, it is a strategic technology for OLIGOFASTX, a consortium which, although it bases its main activity on the development of specific oligonucleotides to improve the quality of life of patients with certain rare diseases, relies on the interaction and complementarity of other types of technologies that accelerate the process of reaching the patient: Artificial intelligence, production scale-up and nanotechnology.

The OLIGOFASTX project takes a 360-degree view, focusing not only on the design and development of active ingredients developed from oligonucleotide-derived molecules but also on the most important challenges they present for the commercialization of viable products. These challenges focus on the correct release of active ingredients into the body and on viable and sustainable production processes.

The OLIGOFASTX project develops products aimed at specific targets and for this purpose applies nanoparticle technologies for their release and the development of bioconjugated systems, where these molecules bind to other molecules that allow them to reach their therapeutic targets.

What is Nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is a scientific discipline that focuses on the manipulation and control of materials at the nanometric level. This technology has enabled significant advances in a number of fields, including medicine.

The term nanotechnology refers to a multidisciplinary field concerned with the study, design, synthesis and application of functional materials and systems through the control of matter at the nanoscale level (National Nanotechnology Initiative, 2016). More than just a taste for manipulating matter on small scales, what is interesting about nanotechnology is the study of the unique physical and chemical properties of nanostructures (e.g. surface properties, rheology, electrical conductivity and magnetism, among others). In recent years, nanotechnology has had a huge impact on different areas of research. This is the case in biology and medicine.

Today, nanotechnology has become a key tool in the process of creating new medicines, as it can improve the action of promising drugs by making them more effective and/or safer.

Thanks to nanotechnology, drugs can be designed to act specifically on the affected cells, reducing side effects in other parts of the body.

In addition, nanotechnology has enabled the development of controlled drug delivery systems, allowing for more precise dosing and preventing overdosing.

Another important use for nanotechnology in medicine is the creation of sensors and devices for the early detection of diseases. For example, sensors are being developed that can detect the presence of cancer in the body long before it is visible on an X-ray or scan.

Similarly, nanoparticles are being created that can be programmed to identify certain cells in the body based on their electrical charge or other factors. These nanoparticles can be used as diagnostic or therapeutic tools to treat serious diseases such as cancer.

Benefits of Nanotechnology for Drug Development

One of the biggest benefits of nanotechnology in the pharmaceutical industry is its ability to improve the bioavailability of drugs, meaning that the body is able to absorb and use them more effectively.

In addition, nanotechnology allows the creation of drugs that specifically target cancer cells, reducing the negative side effects associated with conventional chemotherapy treatments.

Another important advantage of nanotechnology in drug development is its ability to improve the solubility of active compounds, which increases their efficacy and reduces the amount of drug needed to achieve the desired effect.

In short, nanotechnology offers great potential for the development of more effective and safer medicines, which can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of society at large.

Strategic considerations in nanotechnology drug design

However, designing medicines with nanotechnology requires very important strategic considerations. For example, it is necessary to consider the stability and solubility of compounds, as well as their ability to cross biological barriers and reach the right place.

In addition, it is essential to ensure that the nanomaterials used are biocompatible and do not generate toxicity. Another aspect to consider is the scalability of the production process, as nanotech drugs are often more expensive to design than conventional drugs.

Ultimately, designing medicines with nanotechnology is a complex task that requires a multidisciplinary approach and a long-term strategic vision. However, the results obtained so far are very encouraging and promise a revolution in the field of medicine.

Release strategies with nanotechnology or nanosystems

A nanosystem is a structure employed as a vehicle to transport compounds throughout the organism in an efficient and effective way.

The incorporation of a drug into a delivery system improves its solubility, protects it from harmful external agents such as oxygen, and allows for targeted and controlled releases.

The vehiculization of a drug also enables better control of its pharmacokinetics, modification of the circulation time, and avoiding non-specific interactions thanks to an appropriate coating. This also makes other routes of administration possible due to increased solubility and protection against gastrointestinal disorders. Reaching difficult targets will be easier, making it possible to overcome the blood-brain barrier to treat or diagnose diseases of the central nervous system.

In addition, through a specific strategy, the nanocarrier can be tracked with non-invasive imaging techniques to learn its ADME profile or to detect disease biomarkers as a diagnostic method. Finally, and most importantly, the nano-vehicle will accumulate at the active site reducing toxicity issues.

Nanotechnology has allowed drugs to be more effective in smaller doses, reducing side effects and improving patients’ quality of life. In addition, this technology has enabled the development of more precise and controlled drug delivery systems, increasing treatment efficacy and reducing long-term costs.

Ultimately, nanotechnology is a promising tool in the field of medicine and its application in the creation of new medicines has the potential to significantly improve medical care worldwide. With the advancement of technology and continued research, we can expect to see more breakthroughs in the creation of innovative and effective medicines in the near future.

We in the OLIGOFASTX consortium hope to do our bit in research and development in the practical application of this type of technology.



Imagen 1:

Imagen 2: National geographic



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  2. Greenpharma:
  3. Nanotechnology and biotechnology in medicine:
  4. Aragon Institute of Nanoscience:


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