Targeted drug delivery, sometimes called smart drug delivery, is a method of delivering medication to a patient in a manner that increases the concentration of the medication in some parts of the body relative to others.
Despite the progress in techniques for cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, as well as for increasing the public awareness in recent years, this disease is projected to become the leading cause of death worldwide. Advancements in omics, analytical procedures, and high throughput screening in the last five years have led to the realization that human diseases and especially cancer are more complex than were originally conceived. Cancer is not a static entity that can be easily monitored and manipulated. It is characterized by a dynamic and time-dependent network of constantly altered molecular and cellular interactions between players in different pathways. This network is not invariable and rigid but is constantly reshaped and altered conforming to the pliable signaling processes/responses implicated. Its complexity is apparent by the fact that the disease state is not a disruption of a single node or specific nodes in the network organism but is organism-patient dependent, thus requiring personalized perspective approaches.
Numerous challenges hamper effective cancer treatment and development of effective drugs such as ineffective therapeutic drug concentration reaching the tumor site, life-threatening side-effects caused by nonspecific tissue distribution of anticancer agents, and acquired resistance of the cancer cell upon chemotherapy that triggers cross-resistance to a wide range of different drugs.
Such multifactorial states require the development of very delicate approaches in the course of the drug discovery pipeline. The scientific roots of the drug development philosophy should be shifted from the traditional concept of the “magic bullet” drug (i.e., scalped for a single drug target) to the formulation of a navigated vehicle which could spatio-temporally deliver the drug in the correct location and the appropriate time. Thus, the term targeted drug delivery should give its place to navigated drug delivery since it is not only the cytotoxic drug that targets a specific cellular location but rather a vehicle that navigates the course of the loaded drug to the appropriate site of action. Such drug loaded and navigated vehicles in order to enhance the selective uptake of the cytotoxic agent by the tumor cells and spare the normal cells, should consist of a multidimensional architecture.
“Pain Pump” FDA approved Target Drug Delivery
With targeted drug delivery, a pain pump delivers pain medication directly to the fluid around the spinal cord. This may result in effective pain relief at lower doses and with fewer side effects compared to oral medications, which go through your circulatory system.
How Targeted Drug Delivery Works
A targeted drug delivery system delivers pain medication directly to the fluid around the spinal cord, in an area called the intrathecal space.
The system includes a drug pump that is connected to a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. Both the pump and the catheter are fully implanted under the skin.
Because the pump releases medication directly to the pain receptors near the spine instead of going through your circulatory system, pain relief can be achieved with a small fraction of the oral medication dose.
The Effect of Oral Medication
Watch what happens when you take a pill by mouth.
Studies have also reported that targeted drug delivery provided pain relief in many patients who could not achieve adequate control even with high doses of oral pain medications.2
How a Pain Pump Delivers Medication
See how targeted drug delivery is precise and targeted.
Realistic expectations are essential to satisfaction with any pain treatment. Targeted drug delivery cannot eliminate the source of your pain or cure any underlying disease, but it may help to better manage your pain.
Wondering what targeted drug delivery feels like? Talk with one of our ambassadors, who has a pain pump and has volunteered to share his or her experience.
Components of the Targeted Drug Delivery System
Targeted drug delivery uses the Medtronic SynchroMed™ II infusion system, which includes several components:
- A programmable drug pump – A battery-powered device that stores and dispenses medicine according to instructions programmed by your doctor
- An intrathecal catheter – A thin, flexible tube that connects to the pump and delivers medication from the pump to the area where fluid flows around the spinal cord
- Physician programmer – A computer at your doctor’s office that lets your doctor tailor your therapy to best meet your needs
- Personal therapy manager – An optional handheld device that gives patients more control over their pain by allowing them to receive an extra dose of pain medication when needed and within physician-set limits
The SynchroMed™ II pump is implanted just under the skin of the abdomen. Your doctor will work with you to ensure that it is comfortable and does not interfere with your movements.
During the surgery, your doctor fills the pump with pain medication. The pump sends the medication through the catheter to the spinal area where pain receptors are located. You return to your doctor’s office for more medicine when the pump needs to be refilled.
The SynchroMed™ II system is programmable, allowing doses to be scheduled and adjusted by your doctor to ensure that you receive the best pain relief possible.