Duquesne is one step closer to creating a pain nanomedicine that can be designed and produced on a large scale.
To create the pain nanomedicines, Associate Pharmacy Professor Dr. Jelena Janjic and her research team used industry-accepted, quality-by-design standards, which is not typically done with nanotechnology. Their research findings were published in the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists’ PharmSciTech journal.
“Following this approach allows us to predict whether nanoparticles will be stable three months out and what the size of the pill will look like, among other factors,” said Janjic, founder and co-director of the University’s Chronic Pain Research Consortium. “These features are critical to know as we work to produce these drugs.”
Janjic created the first inflammatory pain nanomedicine that directly targets the pain source, which could significantly reduce the need for opioids in treating pain.
In a study presented last year, Janjic found that nanomedicines, which carry miniscule amounts of drugs, reduced pain behavior after a single injection for one week to one month in rats and mice with diverse types of injury. The nanomedicines carry 2,000 times less medicine than a typical dose, which could reduce the need for opioids in treating various types of pain, including after injury, surgery or even cancer.
Janjic and her research team—pharmacy doctoral candidates Michele Herneisey, Lu Liu and Eric Lambert—followed rigorous models to develop a nanomedicine that could remain stable under manufacturing conditions and still be effective.
In early testing, Herneisey noted that the most stable models used smaller amounts of the drug, so the team used predictive modeling to find a formula that was stable and capable of holding the needed drug amount.
Another element of testing was determining the drug’s reaction under different stress tests, including how the medicine held up at different temperatures and in transport.
“We are conducting some of the same tests that the Food and Drug Administration mandates,” Liu said. “It’s important to keep in mind as we develop the formulation. By passing these obstacles, it’s easier to move the nanomedicine to future clinical trials. Every component must be designated as safe.”