The Supervisory Council of RUSNANO has approved a project to produce nanodrugs with targeted delivery for treatment of malignant neoplasms. Total budget for the project is $130 million (3.9 billion rubles) of which RUSNANO will invest $43 million (1.299 billion rubles).
When project goals have been fulfilled, Russia will have fully operating production facilities turning out effective, affordable cancer-fighting drugs with systems of targeted delivery—liposomes, immunoliposomes, and monoclonal antibodies.
Liposomal preparations are vesicles of about 100 nm composed of one or several layers of phospholipids containing an active drug stimulant and an aqueous phase. Liposomes relate to systems of passive targeted deliver—they are released from the bloodstream into tissue where permeability of the vessel is higher, that is, where the malignant tumor has occurred.
Immunoliposomes combine passive targeted delivery with an active system. Antibodies fixed to their surface areas are capable of recognizing tumor-specific molecular markers (tumor-associated antibodies). There is also a class of nanopreparations with active targeted delivery—monoclonal antibodies to tumor antigens that destroy malignant cells with powerful agents. These antibodies are generated in plant cells.
Production of liposome, based on doxorubicin, lizomustin, tsifelin, aranoz, and bacteriochlorin as well as immunoliposome and monoclonal antibodies is slated to begin in 2013–2014.
The N.N. Blokhin Cancer Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences—applicant and primary developer of the anti-cancer drugs with this new form of delivery—is the only medical institute in Russia that conducts the entire development cycle for domestic anti-tumor drugs: from the scientific idea to the introduction of new pharmaceuticals into medical practice.
Pharmaceutical company Medsintez of Novouralsk (Sverdlovsk Oblast) is the coinvestor. Its manufacturing facilities will be the main production site for commercialization and release of the anti-neoplasm nanodrugs that the Blokhin Cancer Research Centre develops.
“Production of highly effective anti-cancer drugs in Russia will lower death rates from cancer among all population groups; it will increase the average lifespan and improve the quality of life for those who are ill,” noted RUSNANO Managing Director Olga Shpichko. “Lower prices will not only improve accessibility of the drugs but also allow the government to increase the amount of drugs it purchases for target programs without changing the budget.”