Mu Q, Yu J, McConnachie LA Kraft JC, Gao Y, Gulati GK, Ho RJY. Translation of combination nanodrugs into nanomedicines: lessons learned and future outlook. J Drug Target. Jun-Jul 2018;26(5-6):435-447. doi: 10.1080/1061186X.2017.1419363. Epub 2018 Jan 10. PMID: 29285948; PMCID: PMC6205718.
The concept of nanomedicine is not new. For instance, some nanocrystals and colloidal drug molecules are marketed that improve pharmacokinetic characteristics of single-agent therapeutics. For the past two decades, the number of research publications on single-agent nanoformulations has grown exponentially. However, formulations advancing to pre-clinical and clinical evaluations that lead to therapeutic products has been limited. Chronic diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS require drug combinations, not single agents, for durable therapeutic responses. Therefore, development and clinical translation of drug combination nanoformulations could play a significant role in improving human health. Successful translation of promising concepts into pre-clinical and clinical studies requires early considerations of the physical compatibility, pharmacological synergy, as well as pharmaceutical characteristics (e.g. stability, scalability and pharmacokinetics). With this approach and robust manufacturing processes in place, some drug-combination nanoparticles have progressed to non-human primate and human studies. In this article, we discuss the rationale and role of drug-combination nanoparticles, the pre-clinical and clinical research progress made to date and the key challenges for successful clinical translation. Finally, we offer insight to accelerate clinical translation through leveraging robust nanoplatform technologies to enable implementation of personalised and precision medicine.