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Deakin University’s Associate Professor Jagat Kanwar has won significant funding through the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF) to assist with his search for new treatments for cancer.
The funding from the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and Tertiary Education allows Australian scientists to participate in leading edge scientific research projects and workshops with Indian scientists.
The priority areas for funding are determined by both the Australian and Indian governments each year.
Associate Professor Kanwar and his team involved in this grant are - from Deakin University - Dr Rupinder Kanwar; from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Professor Khanna KK and Dr Rakesh Veedu from the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences,
The researchers will work with their Indian research partner Dr Krishnakumar from the Vision Research Foundation, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, India.
The innovative grant proposal is based on the development of leading and cutting edge technologies of locked nucleic acid (LNA) modified aptamer therapeutics in Associate Professor Kanwar’s Nanomedicine Laboratory of Immunology and Molecular Biomedical Research at Deakin's Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM).
“The fight against cancer is an ongoing one and this project is a very important part of it,” Associate Professor Kanwar said.
“It is a multi-disciplinary one, covering molecular biology, nanomedicine, cell biology and human cancer stem as well as cancer resistance cells based animal experimental models.
“Winning AISRF funding for the second time, the first time was 2009-2011, this is a significantly pleasing achievement, particularly for us as Deakin researchers, as these grants are highly competitive with very few awarded each year.
The Director of IFM, Professor Peter Hodgson, congratulated Associate Professor Kanwar.
"It is yet another singificant sign of the meaningful and reciprocal research relationships Deakin is developing in India," he said.
The project is formally titled: “Locked nucleic acid modified aptamer-siRNA chimeric conjugates for improved chemosensitivity and eradication of cancer stem cells."
For the first time researchers from IFM will use Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) modified aptamer-siRNA chimeric conjugates for improved chemosensitivity and eradication of tumour as well as cancer stem cells.
These chimeric conjugations will target and kill cancer stem cells as wel las tumour cells more specifically while sparing normal body cells.
These innovative, technology-based targeted molecules have been developed in Deakin University and tested on Retinoblastoma cancers at Vision Research Foundation in India and on breast and colon cancers independently at Deakin.
“We are indeed fortunate that we can, through the AISRF grant, bring Dr Krishnakumar on board to work with us, "Associate Professor Kanwar said.
“He is a highly qualified and well respected researcher in India.”
Through the Deakin India research Initiative (DIRI), the University is already working in collaboration with Dr Krishnakumar, supervising two PhD students.
As well as his work on cancer, Associate Professor Kanwar’s research interests also include discovering treatments for multiple sclerosis and chronic inflammatory diseases, in particular asthma and inflammatory bowel disease.
His publications have added to the body of knowledge in the fields of nanomedicine/nanobiotechnology, cancer gene therapy, cell biology and immunology.
Associate Professor Kanwar's research work has also generated 12 patent/PCTs with two provisionals in preparation. Five of these patents have been licensed for commercialization to biotech companies Antisoma, NeuronZ, Neuren Pharmaceuticals and Fonterra.
Reflecting the recognition of his contribution to the medical research, he has been invited to national and international scientific meetings as a keynote speaker and/or symposium Chair or co-chair in more than 54 international conferences in US, Australia, China, India, Iran, Hong Kong, UK and Singapore in the last five years.
Associate Professor Kanwar organised more than 20 conferences in the field of nanomedicine, immunology, cancer and biotechnology in the last five years and also four new conferences on nanomedicine and biotechnology in 2012 .
He is the member of more than 48 scientific committees and board member of various academic and scientific committees/societies.
Associate Professor Kanwar is a member of more than 48 national and international professional scientific associations/societies including American Chemical Society (ACS), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Australasian Society for Immunology (ASI), Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA), American Association of Nanomedicine, American Nano-Society, Australian Centre for Nanomedicine (UNSW) and The Australian Nanotechnology Network.