The drug delivery field at the inflection point: Time to fight its way out of the egg

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Abstract

The world is becoming a better place, in part, by breakthrough findings by scientists. In the drug delivery field, many breakthrough formulations have been achieved helping patients deal with various diseases effectively. The recent progress, however, has been slowing down, and many important drug delivery problems have not been resolved. They can be overcome by understanding the causes and finding the remedies. For the last three decades, the field has been overwhelmed by nanotechnology, nanomedicine, and many nano-sized drug delivery systems. Disappointing outcomes of nano-sized formulations (nanoformulations) in clinical studies indicate that our overall approach of nanomedicine needs serious reevaluation. The limited advantages of nanoformulations were drastically exaggerated, and the assumptions used in nanomedicine and nanoformulations turned out to be inapplicable to clinical applications. The drug delivery field is at the strategic inflection point, and we all have to face the reality by absorbing the inconvenient truth and fight our way out of the egg to break the ill-conceived illusion of nanomedicine. Scientists are proud of their independent thinking and their work that can change the world, but the current climate does not allow them to be true scientists. The future of the drug delivery field depends on how effectively we can find talented young scientists with motivation, cultivate them with resources, provide them with an environment for the free exchange of ideas, and nurture them with purpose, passion, and the conviction of doing meaningful science.

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