Students of Shiv Nadar University, Uttar Pradesh, Deepika Kannan, Nisha Yadav, won the award for research work of Modernization of traditional anti-malarial drug artesunate via nanomedicine approach. They carried their project work under the guidance of Dr. Shailja Singh, Dr. Bimlesh Lochab, Dr. Soumya Pati.
The burden of malaria has been prevailing since ages in India with a death toll of 1.31 million per year. The failure in combating the disease has been attributed to the drug resistance, limited efficacy of the drug or lack of immunogenicity of vaccine antigens against all strains of plasmodium. In our study, we have applied a smart strategy to deliver the drug along with its catalyst (ferrous ion) in a sustainable manner which will help in improving the therapeutic effect of the drug. The novel innovative approach undertaken in the study has showcased the efficiency of surface coated iron nanoparticles as enhancer of the anti-parasitic activity of artesunate in vitro. This further succour the targeted delivery of the drug and the nanoparticle to the parasite’s food vacuole. The site of action being acidic in pH, the particle mediates delivery of the drug and ion in a slow-release manner. Slow dispersion enables a constant mode of action of the drug rather than an outburst. Thus, a continuous source of radical species is released. Since in combination with nanoparticle the drug remains in the active state for a prolong period, the damages occurring to the parasite is extensive as compared to the drug without nanoparticle. Further observation interpreted that in vitro the measure of ROS within drug+nanoparticles treated parasites were elevated as compared to the drug-treated parasites. Additionally, increased ROS exerted increased DNA and protein damage (in terms of carbonylation and alkylation).
Though the mechanism of free iron uptake by the plasmodium is still inconclusive, difficulty in protecting the human population against malaria by using iron nanoparticle is highly debatable. Based on the in vitro studies observation for the first time was deciphered that the surface coated iron nanoparticle alone did not affect the parasite growth. However, the results demonstrated iron nanoparticle together with artesunate depicted reduced parasite load in a dose dependent manner. In vitro and in vivo data indicated the combination exhibited ~5 folds (IC50 value of 0.4nM) decrease in the dosage level as compared to artesunate alone (IC50 value of 2nM). The fabrication of the nanomedicine provides a means to eliminate the parasite load sustainably such that the effect of the drug is prolonged, providing a mode of complete parasite clearance.
The Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu awarded the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award to Deepika Kannan, Nisha Yadav, Shiv Nadar University, Uttar Pradesh at the GYTI 2019 Awards function held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on July 06, 2019.