Russian Groups Agree to Produce Anticancer Nanodrugs

February 18, 2010
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

RUSNANO, a corporation established by the Russian government to foster the development of nanotechnology, launched a project last week to manufacture targeted-delivery nanodrugs to treat malignant neoplasms.

RUSNANO, a corporation established by the Russian government to foster the development of nanotechnology, launched a project last week to manufacture targeted-delivery nanodrugs to treat malignant neoplasms. The project’s total budget is 3.9 billion rubles ($130 million), of which RUSNANO will invest 1.299 billion rubles ($43 million).

The N.N. Blokhin Cancer Research Center of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences is developing the targeted-delivery anticancer drugs. Pharmaceutical company Medsintez (Novouralsk, Russia) is also investing in the project, and its manufacturing facilities will be the main production sites for the nanodrugs.

The project’s goal is to establish fully operating production facilities that manufacture effective and affordable anticancer drugs that use targeted-delivery systems such as liposomes, immunoliposomes, and monoclonal antibodies. Production of immunoliposomes, monoclonal antibodies, and liposomes based on doxorubicin, lizomustin, tsifelin, aranoz, and bacteriochlorin is scheduled to begin in 2013 or 2014.

“Production of highly effective anticancer drugs in Russia will lower death rates from cancer among all population groups; it will increase the average lifespan and improve the quality of life for those who are ill,” said Olga Shpichko, managing director of RUSNANO. “Lower prices will not only improve accessibility of the drugs, but also allow the government to increase the amount of drugs it purchases for target programs without changing the budget.”

Liposomal preparations are made of one or several layers of phospholipids that contain an active drug stimulant and an aqueous phase. Like passive targeted-delivery systems, liposomes are released from the bloodstream into malignant tumor tissue.

Immunoliposomes combine passive targeted delivery with an active system. Antibodies fixed to their surface areas recognize tumor-specific molecular markers. One class of nanopreparations, monoclonal antibodies, uses active targeted delivery to destroy malignant cells.

In related news, Anatoly Chubais, RUSNANO’s chief executive officer, and Vladimir Uiba, head of the Russian Federal Medical–Biological Agency (FMBA), agreed to work jointly to ensure the safe production and application of nanotechnology and nanomaterials. RUSNANO and FMBA will collaborate to protect Russians’ health during the research, development, production, consumption, and disposal of products created with nanomaterials and nanotechnology.

Under the agreement, RUSNANO and FMBA will establish technical and organizational measures and propose laws to ensure the safe production and use of nanomaterials and nanotechnology. The parties also will introduce nanobiotechnology for applied medical and pharmacological uses, create new types of drugs for socially significant and job-related illnesses, and devise effective means for detoxification and individual protection.

FMBA is a Russian agency that monitors and supervises the health of workers in industrial sectors with dangerous working conditions.