Engineered mesoporous silica nanoparticles loaded with natural bioactive molecules for breast cancer therapy

About this project

Project description

Breast cancer (BC) is one of the most prevalent cancers around the globe. About 15% of all diagnosed types of breast cancer are represented by Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) that shows multidrug resistance (MDR) and are not sensitive to endocrine therapy or HER2-targeted therapy and needs alternate targeted therapy. Other major issues associated with BC include immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment and heterogeneous molecular signature, hence a very high rates of early relapse and metastasis occurs. Immunotherapy (e.g. with PD1-PDL1 directed antibodies) has shown promising results in a subset of patients (20%). Thus, treatment requires formulations having both anticancer activity (chemotherapy) as well as immune check point inhibitor therapy. Most of the drug molecule employed in chemotherapy lack solubility hence high doses of the drug is required to achieve the desired therapeutic effects. Mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs) are widely used as a delivery agent because silica possesses favourable chemical properties, stability, high drug loading potential and biocompatibility. The properties of MSNPs such as pore size and surface properties, can be altered depending on additives used to prepare them. Active surface of MSNPs enables functionalization to change surface properties and link therapeutic molecules.

The present project will employ combination of bioactive molecule loaded and engineered silica nanoparticles with immunotherapy. This project has high translational potential as well as can provide platform for other therapies requiring sustained release of drug or combination of drugs along with immunotherapy.


The training of student in nanoparticle formulations and engineering surface properties of nanoparticles and immunotherapy. These skills will train them in developing new formulations needed for cancer therapy.

Identifying ligands for targeted delivery of anticancer bioactive molecule for breast cancer in combination with immunotherapy for their translation to clinics.
The outcomes of this project are commercially significant, and would lead to IPR which can be employed in developing combinatorial therapy of cancer.

Information for applicants

Essential capabilities

Training in sciences – especially biological, chemical and pharmaceutical sciences.

Desireable capabilities

Experience in relevant areas e.g. cancer research, drug formulation, biotechnology, chemistry, materials science. Lab experience would be favourable.

Expected qualifications (Course/Degrees etc.)

Science, Biotechnology, Engineering, or Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Sciences qualifications for PhD study.

Additional information for applicants

note: i-students must have own scholarship to apply (CSIR, UCG-NET, etc)

Project supervisors

Principal supervisors

UQ Supervisor

Associate Professor Peter Moyle

School of Pharmacy
IITD Supervisor

Professor Prashant Mishra

Department of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology
Additional Supervisor

Dr Zyta Ziora

Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB)