Nanomedicine to target the heart: the potential impact of CUPIDO

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Nanomedicine, meaning the application of nanotechnology to the health sector, represents a promising approach for near future health care. Indeed, some nanopharmaceuticals has been approved by the FDA since the late 90s’ leading to remarkable advantages especially in the cancer field. Curiously, only very few attempts have been made to apply nanomedicine to cardiovascular disease area in spite it represents the leading cause of death worldwide.

On the other side, inhalation has long been studied for the treatment of pulmonary diseases, but its use for targeting of the heart and management of cardiac failing conditions has not been explored. Inhalation is a viable delivery method to target the heart because oxygenated blood from lungs flows directly there via the pulmonary vein. The first hint on the phenomenon came from combustion-derived ultrafine nanoparticles that, once inhaled trough polluted air, were detected in the heart. CUPIDO method exploits the same mechanism, but to deliver a therapeutic instead.

Nanoparticle-based inhalation approach has the potential to provide a faster, more efficient, patient-friendly and heart-specific administration route compared with traditional ones such as intravenous or oral. This might lead to a drastic reduction of drug dose per administration. The therapeutic drug, carried by the nanoparticle, should be protected from adverse systemic and gastric degradation, therefore side-effects due to the targeting of other organs might also be reduced. Overall, these advantages improve patient comfort.