Research at NanoBios Lab

NanoBios Lab deals with three major research group working in domain of Cancer Biology, Orthopaedics and Sensors.

Cancer Biology

Nanotechnology has widened the scope for finding an "Answer to Cancer"! With the advent of this emerging field, new materials are being explored for their application in cancer therapy. Nanoparticle mediated drug delivery has resulted in increasing the payload and specificity of chemotherapeutics, thereby reducing their adverse effects. Metallic nanoparticles with specific surface plasmon resonance are employed in imaging cancer cells (in vitro) and for therapy (in vitro and in vivo) through Photo-Thermal mediated cell death.

Our research here is to checkout for new avenues involving multimodal approach to find a radical cure for cancer. "There is plenty of space available at the bottom" (Richard Feynman-Nobel Laureate) - the saying still holds good as Nanomedicine has evolved to offer plentiful ways of treating cancer and has increased the space of cancer research. We ought to choose the best from it!

Our second approach involves the increased problem of cancer resistance to conventional chemo-therapeutics has created a challenge in coupling therapeutics with other feasible options such as localized hyperthermia (43 degrees Celsius or more) to effectively reduce the recurred tumor burden.

The objective of the current work is to design, synthesize and validate a drug loaded magnetic polymer nanocomposite system to simultaneously deliver drug and heat, both in in vitro and in vivo cancer models. The work also explores magnetic homing of the system in cancer models which do not express unique markers for active targeting.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging helps in efficient delivery of drug and its release in a sustained manner. Polymeric nanocarriers loaded with chemotherapeutic drug and magnetic nanoparticles encapsulated in it are coated with targeting moiety and have proven to be helpful in site-targeted drug delivery in cancerous tissue.

Magnetic nanoparticles are used because of their ability to induce hyperthermia (heat treatment) and their potential benefits in Magnetic Resonance Imaging for diagnosis purpose.

Other avenues being explored into are Photothermal therapy and Magnetic hyperthermia.Cancerous cells show resistance to nanoparticle mediated therapies at lower temperature. It is mainly due to over-expression of Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs). Studying the role of HSP regarding these therapies would help in killing cancer cells at lower temperature without any damage to non-tumorigenic tissue. Nanographene Oxide and Polymeric Nanocarriers are also being looked upon for treatment.

Orthopaedics

There is ever increasing demand of bone fixation devices such as screws, in world orthopedic market. Materials for preparing such devices are undergoing constant amendments to improve quality of the implant. Though polymeric bone fixation devices have obvious advantages over their metallic counterparts such as biodegradability, obviating the need for removal surgery, etc., they suffer from few basic limitations such as, low mechanical strength allowing use in only low load-bearing applications, inflammatory (foreign body) reactions due to acidic degradation products, low osteoconduction that is needed for proper bone healing, etc. Also, bioresorbable and biocomposite bone screws currently available in the market are far too expensive than affordable.

The objective for this project is to develop nano-composite bone fixation material- with mechanical strength matching that of bone (strong and sturdy), good biocompatibility and osteoconduction and still inexpensive, thus, having more chances of mass penetration which shall benefit the cause.

Other ortho related areas are bone and joint infection diagnosis and treantment as well as developing drug delivery system for rheumatoid arthritis.

Biosensors

Milk fever is a metabolic disease caused by low blood-calcium level (hypocalcaemia) in dairy cows close to calving. Prevention of milk fever is economically important to the dairy farmer because of reduced production loss, mortality and veterinary costs associated with clinical cases of the disease. Thus, monitoring of Calcium levels become essential just before or after calving in cows. Our aim is to develop nano-engineered Calcium sensing tattoo materials for early diagnosis of milk fever. Here, we designed strategies to monitor the minute change in calcium levels in the interstitial fluids using fluorescent molecular probes encapsulated in various polymeric and non-polymeric carriers. Different sensing approaches were studied, viz., chitosan nanoparticles entrapped with dye (Nano system) and Probes Encapsulated by Biologically Localized Embedding (PEBBLES), where Polyacrylamide was the base carrier manufactured with the fluorescent probe encapsulated inside it.

The estimation of triglycerides is extremely important since its high concentration [normal range in men (40-160 mg/dL) and in women (35-135 mg/dL)] can cause hyperlipidaemia. Apart from coronary diseases, hyperlipidaemia is associated with several other disorders including diabetes mellitus, nephrosis and liver obstruction etc. The amperometric methods have gained considerable attention for triglyceride detection. This project aims in electrochemical determination of triglycerides in the presence of LIP and glycerol dehydrogenase (GDH) on modified carbon electrode in the presence of NADH using different redox mediators like Toluidine Blue O (TB), Nile Blue (NB), or Meldola Blue (MB).

The project of glucose sensing using NIR dyes involves development of "smart tattoo" sensor which can be implanted transdermally and can be interrogated optically to determine glucose level in the blood. Other projects like stimuli responsive drug delivery deals with development of a nano-micro hybrid system for drug delivery in a pH responsive manner for treatment of common diseases, Quantum dot based sensor targeting analytes that are deranged in Diabetic Ketoacidosis and Multi analyte biosensor for clinical analytes for diagnosis of kidney diseases are also being explored upon.

Drug Delivery

‘Theranostics’ is a term coined to describe the treatment strategy which combines a diagnostic test with targeted therapy based on the test results. This is critical in addressing the challenges faced by various cancer therapies and has thus received a great deal of recent research interest. The project aims at developing polymer nanocapsules showing good ultrasound contrast-enhancing capabilities; and coating these nanocapsules with gold nanoshells in order to use them as photo-absorbers for remote near-infrared region photothermal ablation therapy.

Next novel bandages containing various active ingredients hold promises for wound therapy are being developed. Bacterial infections, wound abrasions, ulcers have been a constant problems and infections that develop in traumatic and surgical wounds and burns remain a major issue despite decades of advances in antibiotics and antiseptics. Thus, the search for novel, more efficient antibacterial wound dressings has been the subject of intense and continuing research efforts. Here, we like to develop in situ fabrication of nanocomposite film, as antimicrobial packaging, wound dressing and antibacterial materials with the combination of drug encapsulated with polymer matrix for painful, infected areas.

The approach of developing gold nanoshelled capsules helps in efficient delivery of drug and its release in a sustained manner. Polymeric nanocarriers loaded with chemotherapeutic drug and magnetic nanoparticles encapsulated in it are coated with targeting moiety and have proven to be helpful in site-targeted drug delivery in cancerous tissue. Magnetic nanoparticles are used because of their ability to induce hyperthermia (heat treatment) and their potential benefits in Magnetic Resonance Imaging for diagnosis purpose.

BioMEMS

The skin, which has immunocompetent cells, is an attractive target for vaccine delivery. Transdermal immunization is the most effective immunization, though it requires considerable technical skills. A promising approach to transdermal immunization is microneedle array technology. Transdermal vaccination can offer simplified logistics and improved immunogenicity without the dangers posed by hypodermic needles. The project of transdermal delivery of vaccines aims in fabricating low-cost, disposable solid and hollow microneedles array of different materials such as silicon and PLA for painless vaccination and characterization of induced immune response to establish the optimum efficacy of such mode of vaccination.


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