Mechanistic modelling of targeted pulmonary delivery of dactinomycin iron oxide-loaded nanoparticles for lung cancer therapy

Shahd F. Al-Tarawneh, Eman Zmaily Dahmash*, Hamad Alyami, Suha M. Abu-Doleh, Samer Al-Ali, Affiong Iyire, Rasha Abuthawabeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the increase in respiratory conditions including lung cancer post covid-19 pandemic, drug-loaded nanoparticulate dry powder inhalers (DPIs) can facilitate targeted lung delivery as a patient-friendly, non-invasive method. The aim of this work was to synthesise and optimise iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) containing dactinomycin as a model drug, using Quality by Design principles. Chitosan and sodium alginate were investigated as polymeric coatings. The mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD), fine particle fraction (FPF), burst-effect (BE), entrapment-efficiency and the emitted-dose (ED) were investigated in initial screening studies and outcomes used to set up a Design of Experiments. Results revealed that chitosan IONPs were superior to that of sodium alginate in delivering DPI with optimal properties [ED (89.9%), FPF (59.7%), MMAD (1.59 µm) and BE (12.7%)]. Design space for targeted IONPs included formulations containing 2.1–2.5% dactinomycin and 0.5–0.9% chitosan. Differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray diffraction and SEM-EDS analysis revealed effective formation of IONPs, and TEM images revealed the production of spherical IONPs with particle size of 4.4 ± 0.77 nm. This work overcame the light sensitivity of dactinomycin to potentially target the high molecular weight drugs to the lungs, with controlled delivery based on a reduced burst effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1057-1068
Number of pages12
JournalPharmaceutical Development and Technology
Issue number10
Early online date16 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Isra University (Jordan) provided funding for Dr. Eman Dahmash and Dr. Samir Al Ali (grant 50/3/2018-2019). Najran University and Aston University provided financial support to Dr. Hamad Alyami and Dr. Affiong Iyire respectively, to work on this project.

Copyright 2022. This manuscript is under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) license. The version of record can be found here:


  • chitosan
  • Dactinomycin
  • iron oxide
  • nanoparticles
  • pulmonary drug delivery
  • sodium alginate


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