lshrat BANO a PhD student in Bionanotechnology at the Quaid-I-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan has been selected for L’Oreals fellowship at University of Cambridge UK
Her research focuses on the practical applications of nanotechnology in medicine.
Nanoparticles are particles with dimensions of iess than 100nm (a nanometer is one-biliionth of a meter} and are attracting a lot of interest in the field of drug development. Their small size and ability to transport drugs directly to target locations open up many possibilities for more efhcient and effective drug delivery, particularly in cancer patients.
Ishrat Bano is looking into the use of magnetic narioparticles in drug delivery. These offer the additional advantage of being more easily directed to diseased tissue through the use of an external magnetic field to direct the particles. Because they can target so efficiently, they also reduce the quantity of drug required to reach the appropriate concentration in the target location, therefore minimizing severe side effects in other, healthy parts ofthe body. However, magnetic particles have a tendency to stick together and cause potential blockage in the tiny capillaries of the blood system.
lt is therefore essential that the particles used are superparamagnetic — only exhibiting magnetism in the presence of an external magnetic field. During her fellowship she will receive training in the synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles adapted to drug delivery.
The ability of these particles to transport drugs is affected by acidity, temperature and the binding sites on the drug moIecuIe`s surface. She will test different methods of drug binding using insulin as a model protein drug and, using acidic solutions to simulate the conditions found in the stomach, she will also test the stability ofthe insulin-loaded particles and their ability to release the drug.
On return to Pakistan, Ishrat Bano will complete her PhD studies and then, as a postdoctoral researcher, she hopes to have the chance to make an important contribution tothe field of drug delivery using bionariotechnology.