Theranostics – An innovative approach against cancer.

During the past months, at Viromii we have been working with some innovative cancer therapies. Concretely, we have been working with a theranostic technology in the field of nanomedicines.

It is well known that, what we know as Cancer covers a set of more than 200 different diseases, each of them with very different physiology, medical approach, prognosis and results for the patients. Every year, there are around 20 million new cancer patients having a huge impact on the global economy, which was estimated in 2010 at approximately US$ 1.16 trillion.

Commonly, cancer treatments are based on radiotherapy, small-molecule chemotherapy, and tumor resection, but new therapies such as immunotherapies, personalized medicine, and early diagnosis tools based on DNA sequencing are now on the spotlight. One of the main reasons for this constant search for new therapies is the high toxicity and how physically harmful some of the current treatments are. Unfortunately, the most common cases are the side effects of the chemotherapy, including hair loss, loss of appetite and loss of body mass, dry skin, anaemia, nausea, etc. All these side effects come because small-molecule chemotherapy is no other than a cancer-specific toxic chemical agent, which usually is administered parenterally. Because of this, the chemotherapy agent can affect other healthy cells, hence causing the multiple side effects previously mentioned.

One of the approaches to solve this is the use of nanomedicines, which can deliver the chemotherapeutic agents onto the cancer cells, therefore reducing systemic toxicity. In this field, several technologies have been developed, being the micelles and liposomes the most popular nowadays. These nanoparticles, however, have been presenting several problems, mainly due to the lack of control and selectivity when releasing the chemotherapeutic agent. To solve this, a new variety of nanomedicines is being created, called Theranostics. Theranostic is the combination of the words “therapeutic” and “diagnostic”, which comprises the nanomedicines that can offer a therapeutic effect, and through an imaging technique it allows the possibility to follow the response to the therapy in-vivo. Several studies in this field are being carried out by big and small companies, as this new technology seems promising due to the fact that it allows the physician to follow the treatment in vivo, therefore making possible to know if the treatment is being specific and/or efficient, which would facilitate the dosing, reduce the toxicity, and increase the positive results.

After a brief patent analysis, it is confirmed how innovative the theranostic field is. As it can be seen in the following figure, theranostics started to become a trend in patent filings in 2012, and now it is growing at a very fast pace, but still being under 1000 patents worldwide.

Another indicator of how experimental this technology is, is the fact that seven out of the top ten applicants for this technology are research organizations.

At Viromii we are really excited to work with cutting edge medical technologies and we are confident that companies will keep investing to bring these innovations to the patients. We hope you enjoyed the read, see you around!