Friday, May 27, 2005

pSivida's biosilicon does its job, then goes away

fwcoverEvery one of pSivida's first "customers," are going to die. And they're going to die of the disease that the Australian nanobio company's product is designed to treat. But if BrachySil, the company's lead product, gives liver cancer patients the gift of another year of life without the pain of chemotherapy, then that would count as pSivida's first success.

It might not be as theatrical as, say, a new wonder drug enabled by an exotic nanomaterial swooping in and saving lives by catching and killing early-stage cancers. But with a cautious U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and simultaneous research into both the benefits and the risks associated with buckyballs, dendrimers and other potential nanoscale drug delivery vehicles, it will be a while before these high-profile particles will be credited with saving anybody's life.

So, for the short term, there is what Roger Aston, pSivida's strategy director, calls his company's "dumb" nanotech application. It's not going trek up and down your bloodstream to find tumors to zap. For late-stage cancer victims, doctors already know exactly where the tumors are. And pSivada's "dumb" nano is a micron-sized "bead" filled with a honeycomb pattern, each nano-sized well loaded with anti-cancer isotopes. Give the tumor a squirt with the 32-phosphorous material and it stays in the tumor and roasts it over three-month period.

And then the biosilicon bead just disappears, biodegrades after it releases the cancer treatment over a specified time period.

For the complete story, take a look at the May edition of the Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report, where I helped out on the pSivida report. If you're already a subscriber, download it here. If not, then help out NanoBot by subscribing through this link.

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