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Research


Background of the Nanotechnology inherent in Omega 48 products


Nanotechnology is a multidisciplinary field covering the design, manipulation, characterization, production and application of structures, devices and systems on a nanometer scale (1 – 500nm size range). At this size range they present unique or superior physicochemical properties. This scale represents that of atoms, molecules and macromolecules. The application of nanotechnology in the heath care sector, diagnostics, delivery and therapeutics, has gained ground over the past 5 years. This can be observed from the increase in the USA budget for nano research, as well as an increase in the number of nano-pharmaceutical patents. Nanotechnology has been applied since the 1960's, with the first lipid vesicles known as liposomes. The current growth in this field is mainly due to the advances in nano science in better approaches of molecular assembly and the design of more controlled and efficient nano material. The field of nano-tech development experience's very low success rates with regards to drugs that enter market. These shortfalls are due to factors such as toxicity of the therapeutic compounds, non specificity, poor solubility leading to lowered bio-availability and thus reduced efficacy.

Size as the main factor improves properties - Size Matters

The sub-micron size of nano particles offers a number of distinct advantages over micro-particles particularly in delivery, due to the fact that these particles are in the size region of macromolecules. The physical characteristics, particularly for particles less than 100nm in size allows these particles to reach virtually all tissues in the body.

Nano particles have in general, relatively higher intracellular uptake compared to micro-particles. This was demonstrated by Desai et al. (1997), whereby 100nm size nano particles showed a 2.5 fold greater up-take compared to 1nm and 6 fold higher up take compared to 10nm micro-particles in caco-2 cell line. This aspect of intracellular uptake is more critical for intracellular pathogens such as infectious diseases, where the drug needs to act intracellularly. Thus by nano encapsulating the product, one can attain intracellular delivery. Furthermore these particles can cross barriers that in general make it difficult for conventional therapeutic compounds to reach the target. Reports on nano-particles crossing the blood brain barrier (BBB), the stomach, epithelial, and even the skin have been presented. When orally taken, free therapeutic agents, and in our case essential oils, are absorbed into the systematic circulation via the portal blood and undergo first pass metabolism, leading to poor bio-availability of drugs. However, when in a Nano format, transport of these products will, in addition to entry via the portal blood, be through the Peyer's patches, followed by uptake via the M cells, entry into the intestinal lymphatic transport and thus into systemic circulation. This mode of transport, which includes, endocytosis and phagocytosis will thus minimize the first pass hepatic metabolism of the therapeutic agents, therefore improving their bio-availability. The nano carriers can also be optimized to nano encapsulate both hydrophilic and hydrophobic therapeutic compounds. In addition, nano sized particles have very high surface area per unit volume, and this has revolutionized the field of delivery through improved bio-availability of most therapeutic compounds that generally have poor bio-availability.

 

 


 

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