Top Innovative Trends in Pharmaceutical Engineering
The pharmaceutical engineering is a combination of state institutions, private businesses, international organizations that develop, manufacture, sell and control the quality of medicines and pharmaceuticals. The nineteenth century, which established a focus on chemical synthesis, gave a countdown to the beginning of the modern era of the pharmaceutical industry. Before this, people relied on the healing properties of plants, substances of animal origin and minerals.
The pharmaceutical industry is constantly discovering many drugs for the prevention and treatment of even the most terrible diseases, while overcoming the challenges of the modern market. Those are high competition, the difficulties of certification and registration of drugs, tightening control rules by regulatory authorities, requirements for strict confidentiality of information and pressure from consumers.
Nowadays, the industry is striving for a more holistic approach with integrated pharmaceutical and medical services, customization and the formation of sustainable values that can contribute to changing people's lifestyles. This determines the trends and tendencies to which pharmaceutical companies must respond or gradually disappear from the market. Below the most remarkable trends are presented, so let’s get to know them.
Robots and 3D printing
So far, the most noticeable areas of development in medicine are robotics and 3D printing. In 2016, there were about 4,000 robots in the world that helped surgeons perform 750,000 operations. And discovering the most fascinating robotics inventions only contributes to developing pharmaceutical engineering.
According to The Economist , all these robots were the products of one company – Intuitive Surgical. In 2000, it introduced the da Vinci robot surgeon, which was controlled by humans through a special console. However, this device is expensive – it costs more than $2 million plus $170,000 per year for maintenance. And although the namesake of the Italian artist is by far the most common medical robot in the world, other companies also do not trail far behind and are trying to come up with cheaper and more convenient options.
3D printing also boasts medical advances. Today, 95% of all hearing aids are printed by means of 3D technology. For instance, Align Technology prints 650,000 mouth guards per day. Besides, the technology is actively developing in the field of printing prostheses, skin and even organs. For example, a California-based research company Organovo printed human liver tissue to test drug toxicity. And the small Swedish company Cellink has been manufacturing bio-ink for 3D printing for several years, which is bought by universities and research centers, as well as pharmaceutical companies. The latter also test new drugs on printed human tissues.
Besides, the world is already trying to print noses and ears. And they even printed a vagina for a girl who was born with a genital deformity. It is worth to note that the external organ has taken root.
Crowdsourcing of Solutions: Patient Inspiration and Know-How
The search for solutions for the treatment of various pathological conditions and diseases is no longer in the hands of pharmaceutical companies. Thanks to open access to various scientific data, today patients are ready to look for additional sources of information, and therefore, they rely not only on what pharmaceutical companies propose to them. This allows interested patients to take responsibility for their health and find a solution that would help them overcome disease or other pathological conditions. There are frequent cases when patients risk their health and even life, agreeing to take part in clinical trials and testing new drugs to speed up the process of finding an effective medicine.
The importance of the patient's role in the development of modern pharmacy is well illustrated by the example of Solid Biosciences, which is trying to find an effective treatment for such a genetic disease as Duchenne myodystrophy. “There are no methods for the specific treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. There is only one drug on the market that is approved for a small group of patients. Solid is specifically designed to detect, research, and develop the most promising approaches to fighting disease at all stages,” – says Ilan Ganot, CEO and founder of Solid Biosciences and father of a son who was diagnosed with Duchenne Syndrome.
Air Purification Glasses
It isn’t surprising that the problem which has led to the creation of this device is polluted air in cities. The air in many cities is filled with dust, smoke, vehicle exhausts and factory emissions, plant pollen, spores, bacteria, etc. and such air has a bad effect on health. In order not to breathe pollution, many people use conventional medical masks. However, they cover most of the face, hiding emotions, which affects communication between people. Moreover, they are uncomfortable to wear and can create choking sensations and interfere with free breathing. Moreover, new forms of pollution are created inside these masks.
To solve all these problems, the engineers came up with glasses that would not interfere with communication, while helping to breathe purified air. Two air filters are attached behind the ears. They have an integrated smart chip, dual-channel fan, battery and power control switch. An air supply pipe goes from each filter. The device also includes an air curtain release and an air transfer device. Glasses should protect the eyes. A fan delivers air to a person. And when you exhale, the entire system pauses on average for a second depending on the user's breathing rate.
Nanotechnology in pharmaceuticals has been a very popular topic for over 20 years. By definition, nanotechnology is an area of applied science that studies the properties of objects and develops systems devices on a nanometer scale.
Today, nanotechnology is one of the most rapidly developing areas of science in a wide variety of industries, including medicine and pharmacy. The possibilities of using nanotechnology in medicine are united by the concept of nanomedicine. The development of nanomedicine is closely connected with the revolutionary achievements of genomics and proteomics, which allowed scientists to come closer to understanding the molecular basis of diseases. There are five main areas of application of nanotechnology in medicine, namely:
· delivery of active drugs;
· new methods and means of treatment at the nanometer level;
· vivo diagnostics;
· vitro diagnostics;
· medical implants.
Many pharmaceutical industry experts hope that nanotechnology will make a breakthrough in genetic engineering, diagnostics and the invention of various types of new dosage forms in pharmacy. Over 10 years, the number of scientific publications on nanomedicine in the world has been increased by 4 times. The number of patent applications for inventions is also growing, and this indicates the increasing commercialization of this field. Judging by the number of publications and patent applications, nanomedicine leaders are currently the United States, Germany, and Japan. Not only the leading industrial powers but also developing countries, particularly, in the Asia-Pacific region, are striving to develop nanotechnology actively.
One of the many examples of nanomedicine advances is the anti-cancer drug Genexol-PM from Samyang. Genexol-PM fights breast cancer and non-small cell lung cancer by providing targeted transport of the active substance paclitaxel to the tumor tissue. This is a sterile lyophilized polymer micellar composition of paclitaxel, which uses a colloidal carrier system for intravenous administration of a drug substance.