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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R021198/1
Title: Developing Patient Centric Oral Medicines for Neglected Tropical Diseases
Principal Investigator: Li, Dr M
Other Investigators:
Yardley, Dr V
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Pharmacy
Organisation: De Montfort University
Scheme: Discipline Hopping Awards
Starts: 01 April 2018 Ends: 31 March 2019 Value (£): 57,435
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complex fluids & soft solids Macro-molecular delivery
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
30 Jan 2018 HT Investigator-led Panel Meeting - January 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of tropical infections caused by a variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and helminths. Development of drugs to treat NTDs have been largely overlooked and received insufficient research and development investment, they affect more than one billion people worldwide, the majority are the world's most vulnerable living in rural areas and urban slums in low-income and middle-income countries. The drug treatments, in particular for the three NTDs with highest rates of death (i.e. Chagas's disease, human African trypanosomiasis and visceral leishmaniasis), are very limited, dated, toxic and inconvenient because of requirement of infusion delivery. It is therefore imperative that highly specific, non-toxic, low cost and oral drugs are developed for NTDs. Although some new drug candidates have shown excellent antiprotozoal activities, few chemical leads have the potential for further development due to their poor biopharmaceutical properties, in particular for oral dosage forms. Therefore, it is of critical importance that this new generation of more effective and affordable antiprotozoal agents are explored further, with particular emphasis on developing effective oral formulation strategies. Based on the PI's strong knowledge/record of pharmaceutical cocrystals, representing a class of multi-component crystalline forms for improvement of their physical properties such as solubility and dissolution rates, it is natural to explore cocrystallisation approach for potential solutions of development of super-bioavailability and low cost oral medicines for NTDs through this discipline hop. The activities will include: (1) Attending lectures in the modules of "parasitology & entomology" and "immunology of parasitic infection" in MSc courses; (2) Attending a short CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course of "Laboratory diagnosis of Parasites"; (3) Learning cell variability assays and in-vivo testing techniques in animal models; (4) Carrying out bioavailability study of Artemisinin cocrystals in animal models; (5) Biweekly meeting with academic staff; (6) Attending and participating in research seminars and conferences; (7) Visiting the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD) in London. Ultimately, this funding would allow him, as a formulation/material scientist, to widen his expertise with the aim of developing long term multidisciplinary research partnerships and solutions for low cost effective oral treatments for NTDs.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.dmu.ac.uk