Innovative Pharmaceutical Excipients
Development of innovative pharmaceutical excipients that offer bio-available, less toxic, and more effective alternative to current drug formulations, is an area of interest in our research group. To this end, we have developed a polymer platform technology based on biocompatible and biodegradable block copolymers. Members of this library are composed of tri- or deblock copolymers of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and poly(ester)s that differ from each other by the presence of distinct functional pendent groups on the poly(ester) block. The developed block copolymers are shown to self assemble to nano-structures capable of solubilization, sustained release and/or targeted delivery of cargos of different physicochemical properties. The technology is licenced to Meros polymers Inc.
Engineered nano-carriers for drug delivery
An area of focus is the development of engineered nano-carriers for optimized delivery of different therapeutic entities with particular interest in drug delivery in cancer, and different inflammatory disorders. On going research in this area includes development of hybrid lipid/polymer based nanocarriers for co-delivery of hydrophilic and hydrophobic cargo. Another area of current research under this topic is the development of nanocarriers that can change their rigidity and/or morphology upon exposure to external stimuli and provide better interaction with specific cells or intracellular components as a result.
Targeted nanocarriers for delivery of modulators of drug resistance in cancer
Polymer and/or lipid-based nano-carriers for the tumor targeted delivery of modulators of drug resistant in cancer is the focus of this research. Modulators of drug resistance can make cancer cells sensitive to the toxic effects of chemo and radiation therapy but may do the same in normal cells. Thus, it is extremely important to target these agents to cancer cells and limit their exposure to normal tissues. On going research in this front is focused on the development of tumor targeted nanocarriers for different inhibitors of DNA repair enzymes. We also seek nano-delivery systems for co-delivery of DNA repair inhibitors and DNA damaging agents.
Nano-delivery systems for cancer immunotherapy
The nanoparticle delivery of therapeutic cancer vaccines to dendritic cells (DCs) for the modulation of T cell mediated immune responses constitutes is an alternative method that (in combination with targeted chemotherapy) has the potential to make an extraordinary world-wide advancement in cancer eradication. A major barrier to cancer immunotherapy is cancer-induced immune tolerance. The objective of this research is to exploit development of nanoparticulate based cancer vaccines that can provide a platform for co-delivery of cancer antigens and adjuvants to DCs boosting immune response against cancer associated/specific antigens. A second objective under this project will seek design of tumor targeted nano-delivery systems for the stimulation of strong anticancer immune response and overcoming immunotolerance against cancer at the same time.
Biodegradable and muco-retentive hydrogels for local drug delivery
New thermo- and pH responsive hydrogels based on triblock copolymers of PEO and functionalized poly(ester)s are being characterized for the solubilization of poorly water-soluble drugs and/or depot drug release via ocular, subcutaneous and transdermal routes of administration.
Under this general theme, new hydrogels based on cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) with enhanced mechanical properties are developed. The developed hydrogels show excellent adhesion and retention on mucosal membranes. Their application in drug delivery in different mucosal membranes is currently under investigation.