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Funding targets new cancer therapy

15 October 2013

A team of researchers, led by the School of Pharmacy's Dr Harry Parekh, have received funding to assist with the development of a new technology aimed at making cancer therapy more effective.

Dr Harendra (Harry) Parekh and his team were recipients of an inaugural Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) from the recently established Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.

The funding received has facilitated the establishment of a dedicated laboratory and incubation of a research project at the Indian Knowledge Park, Life Science Incubator in Hyderabad, India.

The project is aimed at commercializing a platform technology developed by Dr Parekh at the Pharmacy Australian Centre of Excellence (PACE) - termed “bubble liposomes”.

The drug delivery system is designed to make cancer therapy more effective, by reducing side-effects via release of conventional cancer drugs only in target (diseased) tissue, through the use of non-invasive ultrasound.

Dr Parekh firmly believes that India has become a central hub for pharmaceutical research & manufacturing in Asia and many pharmaceutical companies have set up operations there in recent years, with many more following suit.

"Given the recent expansion of the pharmaceutical industry across India there will be amazing opportunities for Bachelor of Pharmacy graduates and also those holding research higher degrees (e.g. PhDs) in the pharmaceutical sciences over the next decade." said Dr Parekh

The indications are that pharmaceutical sciences in India will undergo the same kind of exponential growth as information technology has undergone over the past couple of decades”.  

Dr Parekh not only conducts cutting-edge drug/gene delivery research at the University of Queensland, but also holds adjunct teaching and research positions at Manipal University (India) and more recently at the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute-NUS (Singapore).

Within the remit of teaching at UQ he coordinates two of the drug discovery courses in the Bachelor of Pharmacy Degree at UQ.

“I think it is important for students to be experts in both clinical pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences, as this will vastly improve and expand the scope of career options available to them”. said Dr Parekh.

Media Enquiries: Dr Harry Parekh h.parekh@uq.edu.au

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