Lung Cancer

QUT pharmaceutical scientist Dr. Nazrul Islam, from School of Clinical Sciences, said lung cancer was one of the most common cancers globally and one of the deadliest, being a leading cause of cancer deaths. They says chitosan had long been investigate for drug delivery and medical applications. It is made from refined crustacean (prawns, crabs, lobster) shells and was an abundant and cheap polymer.

Dry powder inhalation

Drug delivery directly into the lungs via an inhaler is an efficient way; which is to achieve local and systemic effects of medications,” Dr. Islam said. My research is concern with dry powder inhalation using chitosan nano particles load with drugs that can reach the lower respiratory tract and from there diffuse into the bloodstream.
Chitosan is a natural polymer that is know as biodegradable and biocompatible (ie human-cell friendly); also has low toxicity and it can bound with therapeutic drugs and made into nano particles. They use different chemical agents called cross-linkers to help form chitosan nano particles in which they incorporate drugs; hence our concern is whether chitosan nano particles form with some cross-linkers are biodegradable or not.

As yet, no studies have conclusively shown complete biodegradation or elimination of chitosan nanoparticles in lung tissue and my research is concern with finding the form of chitosan that is able to biodegrade in the lungs’ unique tissues. Dr. Islam said many scientists were investigating the delivery of chemotherapy drugs via the lungs.

Drug to target cancer cells

While many studies have look at the use of lung delivery of drugs including chemotherapy; also gene therapy, vaccines and immunotherapy, none, to my knowledge; so exclusively look at chitosan as a safe carrier for lung drug delivery,” they said. The reason they study chitosan is also because it has mucoadhesive properties which means it sticks to the lining of the lung cells and it fInd to improve the absorption of therapeutic agents by opening the junctions between cells of the lung lining to allow the drug to target cancer cells.

Target delivery of drugs increases the target tissues’ exposure to the drug; hence while reducing exposure of healthy cells and organs to that drug, which means less toxicity and fewer side-effects. Dr. Islam said much research suggest chitosan-base nanoparticle drug delivery be the way of the future to deliver drugs for many different conditions besides lung cancer.

They need more research to understand the real-life degradation of chitosan; also identify degradation products and their possible toxicities in the body before they can conduct human trials. They believe chitosan-base nanoparticulate drug delivery has the potential to deliver a large number of therapeutic agents to treat various diseases and open a new era for chitosan-base materials for lung drug delivery and other medical purposes.