Fighting resistance in cancer cells due to bacterial infections with modular drug platforms: An idea towards personalized medicine

Student of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Rohini Singh won the award for research work of Fighting resistance in cancer cells due to bacterial infections with modular drug platforms: An idea towards personalized medicine. They carried their project work under the guidance of Prof. Shalini Gupta.

The motive of the study is to target intracellular bacterial infection in cancer and analyse the impact of bacterial presence on the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drug. We observed that bacteria have the capability to biotransform the anticancer drug which might affect its activity and it is the reason for resistance in cancer cells. We have developed multifunctional liposomes with dual capability to simultaneously target cancer and cancer cell internalized bacterial cells. The liposomes are encapsulated with doxorubicin and surface is functionalized with an antibacterial peptide sushi S3 which is used as drug delivery vehicle as a proof-of-concept in an in vitro model. A realistic in vitro cell model was created in which Huh-7 liver cancer cells were infected with Salmonella typhi. It has been observed that S. typhi has the potential to cause gall bladder and liver cancers.

The efficacy of the drug delivery platforms has been tested on S. Typhi- infected liver cancer (Huh-7) cell models. The presence of S. Typhi definitely decreased the efficacy of dox against Huh-7 cancer cells. The overall efficiency to kill cancer and bacteria got improved by approx. 70% than free anticancer drug/anticancer alone when both compounds were given in the liposomal form. The efficacy of the nano-formulations can be enhanced by conjugating specific ligands expressed on cancer cells such as folic acid. We envision that such combinatorial platforms would definitely give a new direction in targeting co-existing infections with synergistic effects and help in curbing the drug resistance problem.

The Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu awarded the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award to Rohini Singh, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi at the GYTI 2019 Awards function held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on July 06, 2019.

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