Pharma Focus Asia

University of Lincoln, UK

Dr. Ishwar Singh ,  Senior Lecturer, School of Pharmacy

Ishwar Singh is a Senior Lecturer in Biological Chemistry at the School of Pharmacy, University of Lincoln. Prior to Lincoln, he had held many prestigious fellowships such as the Alexander von Humboldt fellowship, Germany; and Senior Research Fellowship, DANIDA, Denmark and CSIR, India. He is an organic chemist. He has developed bioconjugations for DNA, RNA and polymer modifications in water. He is currently leading research in Biologics delivery, Peptides, Sequence selective DNA cross linking, Nanoparticles modifications for drug delivery and diagnostic applications and broad spectrum antibiotics.

1. Research is considered as the incessant climb towards greater heights. Considering your staunch involvement with it, could you delineate how you conceptualise your topics of study and with what objectives?

The main objective of our research is to develop better understanding of natural processes and use such understanding to design and develop technology for broader use. If one can understand a single cell than there is good chance to provide better solutions to problems originate from these cells.

2. How much of an impact, in your expert opinion, can targeted biologics delivery make on the alleviation of illness pertinent to DNA-related disorders?

Biologics hold tremendous promise to treat DNA-related disorders. The current small molecule drugs can only target ~15% of human proteome and remaining ~85% is undrugable.  Biologics can target the remaining ~85% targets. There is a lot of development on how to make biologics however the key challenge still remains that targeted delivery. We are working on different biologics delivery system with low toxicity.

3. What are the pre-emptive measures taken in order to facilitate such delivery vehicles while mitigating any toxic effects they might have on the patient?

It is critical to have very good design of delivery vehicle. To build a blueprint for such delivery vehicle the molecular understanding of the different interactions is required. This molecular understanding allowed mitigating toxic side effects.

4. What are the challenges faced during the formative stages of designing and developing nanodevices? Is nanotechnology as executable as it is innovative?

The diagnostic nanodecoder project is very interesting but challenging project. It brings together experts from different countries (UK, Italy, USA and Argentina) with diverse expertise such as scaffold of nanodecoder is designed in one group and we are installing the functions to detect multiple markers in one test rather than doing multiple tests and it will be tested in two different groups on samples from skin cancer. It is a platform technology and later on we would like to develop for other cancers also. The nanotechnology is very much executable but require special skill set as well as right tools.

5. Cancer is an all-pervasive ailment and its diagnosis as well as treatment has been the subject of deliberation for nearly every medical professional associated with it. Kindly shed some light on your share of endeavours, primarily with respect to your four-year project to develop a “designer” nanodevice aimed at ameliorating treatment options for cancer patients.

The designer nanodecoder is designed to diagnose skin cancer. The idea behind it is to combine multiple marker tests in one test using unique nanotechnology with molecular precision. This improved diagnosis will help to determine the faster patient response to different treatments. It is a platform technology and later on we would like to develop for other cancers also.

6. Do you see the advent of the “diagnostic nanodecoder” as a revolution with regard to assessment and evaluation for those afflicted with cancer?

If successful completely than I would have no doubt calling it as a revolution for cancer diagnosis.

7. How do the two disparate yet integral branches of medicine—Life Sciences as well as Pharmacy, unite at your Nanobiotechnology lab for a combined means to a common end?

I do not see them differently. At molecular level they are very close. Designing a nanodevice with nanometer precision and developing its applications required understanding of chemistry, biology and physics.

8. As an educator as well as a seeker of path-breaking medical advances, what message would you like to give to the prospective pharmacists and young medical professionals/students of today?

There is a lot more still need to be discovered. We have not understood a single cell like bacteria completely yet.

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