Future of biomaterials, tissue engineering and drug delivery: impact of nanotechnology.
Article Type: Editorial
Subject: Biomedical materials (Usage)
Tissue engineering (Forecasts and trends)
Drug delivery systems (Technology application)
Nanotechnology (Research)
Drugs (Vehicles)
Drugs (Technology application)
Authors: Paul, Willi
Sharma, Chandra P.
Pub Date: 01/01/2012
Publication: Name: Trends in Biomaterials and Artificial Organs Publisher: Society for Biomaterials and Artificial Organs Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 Society for Biomaterials and Artificial Organs ISSN: 0971-1198
Issue: Date: Jan, 2012 Source Volume: 26 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 010 Forecasts, trends, outlooks; 310 Science & research Computer Subject: Market trend/market analysis; Technology application
Product: Product Code: 2834030 Drug Delivery Systems NAICS Code: 325412 Pharmaceutical Preparation Manufacturing
Geographic: Geographic Scope: India Geographic Code: 9INDI India
Accession Number: 304842706
Full Text: Nanotechnology has been practiced from ancient time without even being known about it. Roman glass cage cup known as "Lycurgus Cup" is believed to be made in Alexandria during AD 290-325 period. This has been made by mixing a small amount of gold with glass which turned red when illuminated by light [1]. The technology behind it is known now being colloidal gold. In transmitted light, nanoparticles scatter the blue end of the spectrum more effectively than the red end, resulting in red transmission. Nanotubes and nanoparticles are now utilized in our day to day life like sunglasses, suncreams, computer hard drives etc. Nature is all about nanoscale structures. Silk is the best example of nature nanotechnology where the molecules are arranged in a specific set to form crosslinks giving its strength. Bone is another example where nanocrystals of calcium phosphate and nano fibres of collagen form a strong natural composite. The present day trend around the world is to translate nanotechnology research into commercialization. The first nanoparticle based drug approved by FDA is Abraxane. Today there are over a dozen commercial products based on nanotechnology [2]. Present application of nanotechnology in medicine includes 1. Controlled delivery of proteins and growth factors in regenerative medicine for regeneration of endogenous tissues; 2. Nanoscaffolds and 3D constructs for cell delivery and tissue engineered scaffold; 3. Development of biomimetic materials for mimicking biological molecules and for molecular signaling. This also helps in stimulating specific cellular response at molecular level for regeneration of living tissues. Biomimetic materials or biomimetic surface modifications at nano-level and release of ions can modify the interaction of proteins and blood cells with the medical devices making it more blood and tissue compatible [3,4].

The global biomaterials market for 2011 was estimated at US$37.6 billion and has been projected to increase at a CAGR of 14% (2007-2017) to reach US$83.9 billion by 2017 (Biomaterials--A Global Market Overview, April 2011, Industry Experts USA). The biomaterial device market includes all product devices manufactured using biomaterials, such as cardiovascular, orthopedics, plastic surgery, gastrointestinal, urological, wound care, etc. The global market for tissue engineering and regeneration products reached $55.9 billion in 2010, was expected to reach $59.8 billion by 2011, and projected to grow to $89.7 billion by 2016 at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4% (Tissue Engineering and Regeneration: Technologies and Global Markets, January 2012, BCC Research USA). This includes bioengineered products that are themselves cells or are actively stimulating cell growth or regeneration, products that often represent a combination of biotechnology, medical device and pharmaceutical technologies. The largest segment in the overall market for regenerative medicine technologies and products comprises orthopedic applications. Other key sectors are cardiac and vascular disease, neurological diseases, diabetes, inflammatory diseases and dental decay and injury. The Indian market for medical devices was valued at around US$2.7 billion in 2011. Despite strong growth rates, the market remains disproportionately small, ranking among the top 20 in the world but with low per capita spending (US2$). Percentage of health expenditure is only 3.7% with a growth rate of 15.5% (The Outlook for Medical Devices in Brazil, Russia, India & China. Espicom business intelligence). Global Markets indicate that nanotech-enabled drug delivery therapeutics is set to grow from a current value of $2.3 billion to $136 billion by the year 2021. This sector will therefore represent approximately 15% of the global nanotechnology market in 2021.

There are few challenges in commercializing nanotechnology such as high processing costs, problems in the scalability of R&D for prototype and industrial production, the basic research orientation of the related sciences, concerns about environment, health and safety including nanotoxicity etc. However, utilizing nanotechnology, can contribute towards cost effectiveness and competitiveness, reduction of the size of the medical devices and prevention of devices induced infection can be addressed.


[1.] I. Freestone, N. Meeks, M. Sax, C. Higgitt, The Lycurgus Cup--A Roman nanotechnology, Gold Bulletin, 40(4), 270-277 (2007).

[2.] V. Wagner, A. Dullaart, A.K. Bock, A. Zweck, The emerging nanomedicine landscape, Nature Biotechnology, 24, 1211-1217 (2006).

[3.] T. Chandy, C.P. Sharma, Effect of liposome albumin coating on ferric ion retention and release from chitosan beads, Biomaterials, 17, 61-66 (1996).

[4.] K. Kaladhar, C.P. Sharma, Supported Cell Mimetic Monolayers and their Blood Compatibility, in Advanced Biomaterials: Fundamentals, Processing, and Applications (eds B. Basu, D. S. Katti and A. Kumar), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA (2010).

Willi Paul, Chandra P. Sharma *

Division of Biosurface Technology, Biomedical Technology Wing

Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology

Thiruvananthapuram 695012, India

* Corresponding author: sharmacp@sctimst.ac.in
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