CHAPTER 9: Advances in the Targeted Delivery of Biochemical Agents1
Published:20 Aug 2018
K. Nixdorff, in Preventing Chemical Weapons: Arms Control and Disarmament as the Sciences Converge, ed. M. Crowley, M. Dando, and L. Shang, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018, pp. 259-292.
Download citation file:
Toxins and biochemical bioregulators are agent categories that are most relevant to convergence in the context of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Improved ways of delivering such agents are at hand and are being developed further at a rapid pace. An indication of this development can be found in advances in the delivery of therapeutics in experimental and clinical applications described in the open scientific literature. The methods of targeted delivery of therapeutics to treat disease do not exactly mimic those that would be used for the delivery of biochemical agents as weapons. However, by examining these developments it is possible to come to some basic conclusions about the feasibility of using advances in these areas for terrorism or biochemical warfare. The two fields that appear to be most relevant for both therapeutic drug application and biochemical warfare are aerosol and vector-directed targeted delivery technologies. Improvements in therapeutic targeted delivery are being made as a result of advanced work in cancer treatment, as well as gene and immuno-therapy. Nanotechnology has played a fundamental role in improving targeted delivery by packaging DNA, proteins and drugs into defined nanoparticles that are absorbable over nasal and respiratory routes as well the blood–brain barrier. Improvements in gene transfer and expression efficacy of viral and non-viral vectors as well as progress in the protective packaging of these agents against environmental stress and other detrimental factors continue to make them ever more feasible targeted delivery systems for toxins and biochemical bioregulators.