The skin is the largest organ of the human body, but its architecture and composition make it impermeable to many drugs. Nanotechnology can assist in drug penetration, offering controlled release of active substances at the desired epidermis layers and protecting the drug against chemical or physical instability. Towards this goal, the EU-funded NANODRUG (Novel nanoparticles for drug delivery to the skin) research training network set out to develop and characterise novel intelligent nanomaterials as novel drug delivery systems for inflammatory skin diseases. Researchers developed novel biocompatible nanoparticles loaded with antimicrobial peptides or vascular endothelial growth factor and characterised them in terms of size, encapsulation efficiency and release profile. To enhance skin penetration and optimal pharmacokinetics and therapeutic index, they aimed for particles of ultra-small size, large surface-to-mass ratio and high reactivity with drugs. Nanoparticles responsive to stimuli such as pH and temperature were also generated. With respect to nanoparticle-drug complexes, partners focused on traditional anti-inflammatory drugs and nucleic acids. They evaluated their encapsulation efficiency and performed extensive characterisation of their biophysical properties. Biocompatibility and toxicity analysis alongside computational modelling of the nanoparticle cell membrane interaction helped enhance the system’s design. In another part of the project, the consortium prepared superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles with diverse diagnostic and potential therapeutic applications for various inflammatory disorders and cancer. Research efforts also led to the identification of new skin disease genes or inflammatory skin diseases, including syndromic disease with inflammatory bowel or oesophageal cancer. Collectively, NANODRUG deliverables have the potential to achieve drug delivery through the skin while maintaining the normal skin barrier function. This avoids the use of chemical enhancers that reduce skin function and also cause irritation and damage.
Nanoparticles, drug delivery, skin, anti-inflammatory, NANODRUG, skin diseases