A4 - Breakthroughs in pharmaceutical nanotechnology for oral delivery of anticancer drugs


Organised by the FIP Young Pharmacists Group in collaboration with the FIP Industrial Pharmacy Section and the FIP SIG on Formulation Design and Pharmaceutical Technology


Prateek Jain (Biopharma Insights, Decision Resources Group, India) and Linda Hakes (FIP, UK)


Oral delivery of anticancer drugs has been an important topic of research for a decade. Unfortunately, most of the anticancer drugs, either old or novel, with high therapeutic efficacy, do not realise their full potential in the market. The main reason is low oral bioavailability of these molecules due to the gastrointestinal (GI) drug barrier and other instabilities. Therefore, in the current regimen of chemotherapy, anticancer drugs are administered in a painful manner through intravenous injection or infusion in hospital settings, which leads to high costs, non-compliance and eventual failure of the therapy.

The solution to these challenges is oral chemotherapy; a dream of cancer patients, and the only key step towards chemotherapy at home. The success of oral chemotherapy can profoundly change the clinical practice of chemotherapy and significantly improve the quality of life of cancer patients. Pharmaceutical nanotechnology and formulation sciences are the crucial stakeholders in solving the problems of drug delivery that may provide solutions to change the way of making and taking medicines. Fortunately, there has been a plethora of advances in understanding drug delivery of small molecules to targeted organs, bypassing the GI tract and allowing protection from destructive enzymes in the body.

In the past few years there has been a global debate on whether to discover new molecules in oncology, or to unleash the full potential of the existing molecules and save billions of dollars on drug development and clinical trials. Interestingly, the latter has been voted for and practised for many reasons. Drug reformulation of existing molecules plays a fundamental role in improving patient compliance and refining clinical outcomes. It also empowers the full commercial potential of a molecule to be recognised and maximises returns on investment. Drug reformulation also reveals a number of marketing chances at different stages of the product lifecycle that help to achieve strategic goals.

This session on will address the key challenges that can be overcome to make chemotherapy at home a reality. The learnings can enlighten researchers to develop innovative strategies for oral drug delivery of anticancer drugs.


  1. Pharmacokinetic considerations and challenges in oral anticancer drug delivery
    Geoff Tucker (University of Sheffield, UK)
  2. Novel materials in oral anticancer drug delivery, where are we?
    Prateek Jain (Biopharma Insights, Decision Resources Group, India)
  3. Novel formulations and the biopharmaceutical challenges of oral cancer therapy
    Gavin Halbert (Strathclyde University, UK)
  4. Socio-economic benefits of chemotherapy at home: The future
    Sandeep Parsad (PGY2 Oncology, University of Chicago Medicine, USA)


Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the current formulation technologies for oral delivery of small molecules in cancer chemotherapy;
  2. Explain the significance of improving the ease of administration for cancer patients;
  3. List the innovative strategies to revitalise the existing molecules to maximise the returns on investment;
  4. Describe how to extend the scope of a molecule, scale-up, commercialise and offer business opportunities.

Type of session: Knowledge-based