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Guest Editorial: Special Issue For Prof. Dr. Peter Paul Speiser

J. Kreuter
Published 2009 · Chemistry, Medicine

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This year’s recipient of the Journal of Drug Targeting Life-time Achievement Award 2009 is Prof. Dr. Peter Paul Speiser who was a professor at the world famous Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zürich, 1961 to 1989). It is a great honor for me to act as the guest editor for the special issue of this journal dedicated to him. Prof. Speiser was the first having the idea of developing nanoparticles as drug delivery systems (Birrenbach & Speiser, 1976; Kreuter & Speiser, 1976; Kreuter, 2007). He first envisioned their use as longcirculating intravenous drug delivery systems. Already during his first investigations using nanoparticles as carriers for vaccines and after the first body distribution and cell distribution findings in his team which demonstrated their accumulation in certain tissue (Kreuter, Täuber, & Illi, 1979) and cell organelles (Couvreur et al., 1977), Prof. Speiser saw their great potential for drug targeting. This potential soon was demonstrated in cooperation with Patrick Couvreur who at that time still was working in Brussels (Grislain et al., 1983). In their study, they found that the nanoparticles not only accumulated in a primary Lewis Lung Carcinoma transplanted subcutaneously to mice but also in the lungs—an organ in which this tumor was producing metastases—much higher nanoparticle concentrations were yielded than in normal mice. Being a great visionary Prof. Speiser also proposed to use the nanoparticles for oral and ophthalmic drug delivery. A lot of people were skeptical then about this idea, including myself, but soon it could be demonstrated that nanoparticles indeed were useful for these purposes (Nefzger et al., 1984; Harmia et al., 1986). However, his most visionary idea that he already developed around 1980 was to propose to use nanoparticles for the delivery of drugs across the blood–brain barrier. At that time I was sure that this was an impossible, stupid idea, but over 10 years later we demonstrated that the delivery of drugs with nanoparticles across the blood– brain barrier indeed was possible (Kreuter et al., 1995) and was holding great promise even for large molecules such as nerve growth factor (see article “Brain targeting of nerve growth factor using poly(butyl cyanoacrylate) nanoparticles” in this issue). Prof. Speiser also fathered similar targetable nanometer-sized drug delivery systems, the pharmacosomes (Vaizoglu & Speiser, 1986). These pharmacosomes are defined as colloidal dispersions of drugs covalently bound to lipids and may exist as ultrafine vesicular, micellar, or hexagonal aggregates, depending on the chemical structure of the drug–lipid complex. Any drug possessing an active hydrogen can be bound to the lipid via esterification or by using a spacer chain
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