From Composition to Cure: A Systems Engineering Approach to Anticancer Drug Carriers.
The molecular complexity and heterogeneity of cancer has led to a persistent, and as yet unsolved, challenge to develop cures for this disease. The pharmaceutical industry focuses the bulk of its efforts on the development of new drugs, but an alternative approach is to improve the delivery of existing drugs with drug carriers that can manipulate when, where, and how a drug exerts its therapeutic effect. For the treatment of solid tumors, systemically delivered drug carriers face significant challenges that are imposed by the pathophysiological barriers that lie between their site of administration and their site of therapeutic action in the tumor. Furthermore, drug carriers face additional challenges in their translation from preclinical validation to clinical approval and adoption. Addressing this diverse network of challenges requires a systems engineering approach for the rational design of optimized carriers that have a realistic prospect for translation from the laboratory to the patient.
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