Drug delivery research in India will advance with help from New Zealand, with the gift of a highly advanced qNano system to Prof. Rinti Banerjee from the Department of Biosciences & Bioengineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai.
New Zealand nanotechnology company Izon Science gifted the instrument to accelerate advancement of research in the area of nanoparticles for drug delivery. The gift recognises the path-breaking technology platform and drug delivery mechanism award winning Prof. Rinti Banerjee has developed. The qNano provides the highly accurate information required to aid development of drug delivery systems that could deliver cancer drugs directly to the tumor.
The qNano system was presented to Prof. Banerjee by Hans van der Voorn, the Executive Chairman of Izon Science. The function held at IIT Bombay was attended by Hon Steven Joyce, New Zealand's Science and Innovation Minister, as part of his visit to India with a delegation of New Zealand education and aviation companies. Acting Director of IIT Bombay, Prof. R.K. Malik and Prof. N.S. Punekar, Head of Department of Biosciences & Bioengineering were also present at the occasion.
Prof. Banerjee is the winner of numerous awards for her work including most recently the prestigious National Award for Women Bio-scientists by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
Her group works in the area of nanomedicine. Her group focuses on development of non-invasive carriers for delivery of drugs using specifically engineered nanoparticle technologies.
At present the technologies are being developed for therapy in cancers, respiratory diseases, ocular diseases and malnutrition. Several technologies developed by her group have been patented and have shown promising effects in in vivo animal models. Prof. Banerjee is keen to collaborate with industrial partners for further translation of these technologies.
Gavin Young, New Zealand's Trade Commissioner and Consul General in Mumbai says, "It's great to see a New Zealand company helping researchers in India at the forefront of new research frontiers. New Zealand's focus on science and innovation is something we share with India."
Izon Science's Hans van der Voorn says, "We're very pleased to be contributing to Prof. Banerjee's very important research work into controlled release drug delivery. This research could lead to the development of high value added products that could really make a difference to people's wellbeing worldwide, as well as to the Indian economy.
"This gift is a sign of our commitment to building business and research relationships in India. Half of our global sales already come from Asia and we see India as a very important market going forward."
Prof. Banerjee says, "I am thankful to Izon Science, New Zealand for presenting me with qNano which is a state-of-the art piece of equipment renowned for its precise measurements of nanoparticle sizes and concentrations. I am very excited that qNano will help us in accelerating our translational efforts in nanoparticle based drug delivery for affordable therapies in cancers and other diseases worldwide."
Targeted drug delivery offers enormous health benefits as smaller doses of drugs are delivered directly and achieve delivery of therapeutic levels of drugs over long periods of time without dose fluctuations. Targeted drug delivery also result in fewer side effects than pulse entry drug delivery. Targeted delivery of cancer drugs directly to the tumor is seen as a key application.
Prof. Banerjee is also interested in using drug loaded biological nanoparticles for respiratory, ophthalmic and transdermal delivery of drugs. The main objective is to design nanoparticles to reduce the systemic toxicity of the drugs and administer them through non-invasive, patient compliant routes.
"The qNano is a great way to enable researchers and students alike to do high quality bio and nanotechnology research and to be on the forefront of new research frontiers. Our instruments are extremely accurate and very affordable. One electron microscope is about the same price as 25 or 30 qNanos and our instruments are actually more accurate for particle research," says van der Voorn.
Izon Science's qNano and qViro instruments enable extremely precise measurement of nano and micro-particle samples by measuring the physical properties (size, concentration and surface charge) of individual particles as they pass through the unique size-tunable nanopores. The instruments are advancing research in a number of fields including drug delivery, hematology, biomedical diagnostics, and vaccine development.