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Colchicine nanotherapy to combat artery blocking

University of New South Wales

  • Cardiovascular Early-Mid Career Researcher Grant
Date Funded:
  • 18 November, 2021
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Dr. Zi (Sophia) Gu

Project Summary

Developing a safe and effective nanomedicine to reduce artery narrowing and blocking.

What is the issue for NSW?

Atherosclerotic diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, remain a major cause of death and disability in Australia and internationally. Despite advances in preventative and therapeutic strategies, atherosclerosis is still common and occurs at a high rate. People over the age of 40 and in general good health have about a 50% chance of developing serious atherosclerosis with reduced or blocked blood supply to the heart or to the brain. This risk increases with age. As Australian life expectancy increases, the number of people being diagnosed and treated for atherosclerotic diseases has significantly increased in NSW. This is causing a lower quality of life for residents of NSW, specifically in relation to the elderly population, resulting in additional costs to NSW health services.

What does the research aim to do and how?

The project aims to develop a new, safe and effective colchicine (drug) nanotherapy for atherosclerosis treatment. The approach this study takes is to use an injectable nanoparticle carrier to deliver colchicine specifically to the atherosclerosis lesion, enhancing therapeutic efficacy and reducing adverse effects. To establish this novel nanotherapy, Dr Gu and her team will fabricate the drug-loaded nanohybrid and then evaluate its therapeutic effects and biological behaviours (including toxicity, biodistribution and pharmacokinetics) in two classic animal models. Given the proved safety of the nanoparticle and well-designed project, they envisage the colchicine nanotherapy will be translated to clinical trials and commercialised. This will eventually benefit patients with cardiovascular diseases.