Friday, February 17, 2012

Devices Are the Future of Drugs | EMDT - European Medical Device Technology

Devices Are the Future of Drugs
By: Norbert Sparrow
30 January, 2012

Last week, I posted an article on medtechinsider that listed five reasons why medical device manufacturers should consider attending Pharmapack Europe in Paris on 15 and 16 February 2012. One of those reasons was a conference session titled, Why Medical Devices Are the Future of Drugs. The topic intrigued me and I wanted to know more, so I called up Dr. Yves Tillet, CEO of Paris-based consultancy White-Tillet, who will be addressing this subject on 16 February. Here’s a preview of the case he will make to Pharmapack Europe conference attendees.

Most drugs are administered via a systemic route, says Tillet, and to ensure that the medication reaches the target site, it is administered in large concentrations. “If you are able to target just the tumour, for example, you can use much smaller quantities of the drug, and thus improve the risk-benefit ratio,” explains Tillet. Moreover, drugs that did not get past phase 2 of the drug development process “because of toxicity issues can be rehabilitated by being administered locally,” he adds. Introduced into the body in much smaller quantities and precisely delivered to the target site, the drug no longer poses a threat to healthy cells.

During his presentation, Tillet will describe various types of innovative drug-delivery systems that are transforming the practice of healthcare. I asked him if there were any that he finds especially promising. After some thought, he pointed to microsphere technology and phototherapy.

“For cancer treatments, the microsphere carries the drug to the target site and isolates the tumour by preventing blood from getting to it. The cytotoxic agent acts on the tumour, which can’t spread,” says Tillet. Phototherapy is also very promising, he adds, because a laser is used to activate the drug only after it has reached the target site.

Traditionally, drugs have been formulated for delivery via a systemic route, notes Tillet, and this can cause a number of issues. At the Pharmapack Europe conference, Tillet will explain in some detail how combination products can eliminate these problems and fundamentally change the way in which serious conditions are treated.


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