By Lauren Martz, Senior Writer
Many drug developers have avoided stepping into what they see as the high risk area of pregnancy-associated complications, leaving diseases such as preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction with little innovation and few treatment options. By taking advantage of biological similarities between solid tumors and the placenta, a group from the University of Manchester has developed a drug delivery technology that could shift the risk-reward balance and spur companies to reopen the book.
In a paper published in Science Advances last month, the group, headed by Lynda Harris, a lecturer in pharmaceutics at the university, reported that two peptides known to target solid tumors also home to the surface of the placenta. Drug-loaded liposomes decorated with either peptide accumulated in the outer layers of the placenta without crossing into fetal circulation or accumulating in maternal organs.