The Continuing Story of Nanoparticles

November 2, 2007
Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 31, Issue 11

A book illustrates the potential for nanoparticulate drug delivery, and how much about them remains to be understood.

As the editors of Nanoparticulate Drug Delivery Systems point out in their introductory chapter, nanosystems are not new. They were previously known as colloidal systems, and our understanding of them has advanced considerably in recent years. Nanoparticulate systems have great potential in therapeutics, and the book presents a timely review of the progress in the area.

R. Christian Moreton, PhD

Nanoparticulate Drug Delivery Systems was written by a panel that includes academics and industry professionals from Asia, Europe, and North America. With such a range of authors, the style of writing varies considerably, resulting in a text that is understandable, but not always easy to read.

Nanoparticulate Drug Delivery Systems, Deepak Thassu, Michael Deleers and Yashwant Pathak, Eds., Informa Healthcare, New York, NY, 2007, 352 pp., ISBN 978-0-8493-9073-9.

The book's chapters are a series of review articles that cover many aspects of nanoparticulate systems. The editors describe the ordering of the chapters in their preface. The chapters are divided into six groups, which focus on topics such as nanosuspensions for parenteral use, the various types of nanoparticles, the engineering aspects of various nanoparticulate drug delivery techniques, nanobiotechnology, and the applications of nanoparticulate drug delivery systems. It would have been helpful to have incorporated the editors' informal divisions more formally in the structure of the book and the table of contents.

The chapters often present overlapping information, which is inevitable given that each chapter is essentially a stand-alone review. However, the individual chapters contain sufficient information to be useful individually.

Given the current interest in poorly soluble drug molecules and the desire to improve solubility as a way to increase drugs' effectiveness, nanoparticulates have tremendous potential. They could be well suited for therapeutic use and for safety testing, where exposure is important. Chapter 5 offers useful insights into the potential of nanocrystals in this general area.

Other chapters stand out for various reasons. Chapter 2 discusses parenteral applications and is well worth reading because of its relevance to the treatment of severely ill patients. Chapters 13–21 describe various applications of nanoparticulate drug delivery. They will be interesting to many readers. Chapters 13 and 14 provide particularly thorough reviews.

The book contains a wealth of information, and experienced practitioners will find it a useful reference. However, the beginner would be well advised to become familiar with the general terminology of the field because the authors use many special terms and acronyms. Although almost all of them are explained in the text, the authors use them differently. The book would have benefited from standardization of terms and the inclusion of a glossary.

As might be expected, our understanding of various nanotechnology applications has progressed unevenly. Some of the book's discussion about various therapeutic applications of nanoparticulates suggests that, for certain applications, the potential of nanoparticulates remains just that—potential. Such honesty is to be commended. Nanoparticulates will not be a panacea.

Overall, despite minor deficiencies in style and editing, this is a useful book and a good reference for many people working in the field. It demonstrates nanoparticulates' utility, while simultaneously showing that, despite all the excellent progress, there is still a long way to go in our understanding of some potential therapeutic applications.

R. Christian Moreton, PhD, is a member of Pharmaceutical Technology's editorial advisory board and vice-president of pharmaceutical sciences at Finnbrit Consulting, Cambridge, MA,