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An injectable hybrid nanoparticle-in-oil-in-water submicron emulsion for improved delivery of poorly soluble drugs

Shuo Wang1, Hua Wang1, Wenquan Liang1* and Yongzhuo Huang23*

Author Affiliations

1 Zhejiang University College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 388 Yuhangtang Road, Hangzhou 310058, China

2 Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 501 Hai-ke Road, Shanghai 201203, China

3 Key Lab of Smart Drug Delivery (Fudan University), MOE & PLA, 826 Zhangheng Rd, Shanghai 201203, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:219  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-219

Published: 13 April 2012


Poor drugability problems are commonly seen in a class of chemical entities with poor solubility in water and oil, and moreover, physicochemical instability of these compounds poses extra challenges in design of dosage forms. Such problems contribute a significant high failure rate in new drug development. A hybrid nanoparicle-in-oil-in-water (N/O/W) submicron emulsion was proposed for improved delivery of poorly soluble and unstable drugs (e.g., dihydroartemisinin (DHA)). DHA is known for its potent antimalarial effect and antitumor activity. However, its insolubility and instability impose big challenges for formulations, and so far, no injectable dosage forms are clinically available yet. Therefore, an injectable DHA N/O/W system was developed. Unlike other widely-explored systems (e.g., liposomes, micelles, and emulsions), in which low drug load and only short-term storage are often found, the hybrid submicron emulsion possesses three-fold higher drug-loading capacity than the conventional O/W emulsion. Of note, it can be manufactured into a freeze-drying form and can render its storage up to 6 months even in room temperature. The in vivo studies demonstrated that the PK profiles were significantly improved, and this injectable system was effective in suppressing tumor growth. The strategy provides a useful solution to effective delivery of such a class of drugs.

Poor solubility; Drug delivery; Nano emulsion; Nanoparticle; Dihydroartemisinin