Dr. Arun Iyer Receives the Prestigious 2012 CRS T. Nagai Postdoctoral Research Achievement Award from the Controlled Release Society
(R-L) CRS President Dr. Martyn Davies poses with CRS T. Nagai Postdoctoral Research Achievement Award recepient Dr. Arun Iyer and his Advisor Prof. Mansoor Amiji, along with incoming CRS President Prof. Kazunori Kataoka.
Dr. Arun Iyer, a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Northeastern University has been awarded the prestigious2012 CRS T. Nagai Postdoctoral Research Achievement Award from the Controlled Release Society (CRS). The award was presented to him at the inaugural function of the 39th Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Controlled Release Society held in Quebec City, Canada. This award has been established to recognize an individual who has made an outstanding postdoctoral research achievement in controlled release science and technology.
Prior to joining Northeastern, Dr. Iyer completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), School of Medicine. Dr. Iyer along with Dr. Mansoor Amiji, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences are engaged on research projects including “Combinatorial-Designed Nano-Platforms to Overcome Tumor Multi Drug Resistance (MDR)” funded by the National Cancer Institute’s Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer.
Development of multidrug resistance (MDR) to conventional and newer generations of therapeutics is a significant problem in the clinical management of cancer. MDR develops due to multiple factors that include poor systemic drug delivery efficiency, inefficient drug residence at the tumor site, poor intracellular availability, and micro-environmental selection pressures that allow certain cells (e.g., cancer stem cells) to survive despite aggressive chemotherapy. Together these factors contribute to the development of clinically manifested refractory cancers. Overcoming MDR in a clinically translatable manner, that can benefit cancer patients, requires a multi-modal therapeutic approach that integrates enhancement of delivery efficiency using targeted nano-platforms as well as strategies that can alter the cellular phenotype for maximum cell-kill response in vivo, without the additional burden of toxicity to cancer patients. Among several approaches, combination therapies using RNA interference (RNAi) mechanisms coupled with cytotoxic chemotherapy has emerged as a very powerful strategy to down-regulate key genes involved in the development of MDR phenotype followed by challenge with a high dose of chemotherapeutic agent loaded in precision guided targeted nanosystems, such as the ones developed in their laboratory.
Although a number of investigators have examined combinatorial approaches for designing biomaterials and drug delivery systems, the concept of combinatorial designed formulations with well-characterized starting functional blocks developed by Dr. Iyer and Prof. Amiji is novel. Dr. Iyer’s research initiatives in this direction have led to a novel class of nanomedicines that could be designed using a unique ‘mix and match’ screening for application in personalized cancer therapy where the heterogeneous mix of the disease varies on a case-by-case basis. Thus far, these nanosystems have shown promising potentials in vitro and in vivo that could eventually lead to more innovative, safe, and effective treatment of diseases such as cancers in the clinics.
Their work has been filed for a provisional US patent under Northeastern University and the concept has been published in the Journal Accounts of Chemical Research.