The research at ASP is driven by the actual drug-related needsof patients as well as clinicians who treat them. Being at the health science campus of a research intense deemed to be university, well associated with the super speciality hospital, the researchers of the school has the benefit of knowing firsthand about the real-life problems in drug delivery and therapeutics faced by patients and clinicians in a hospital setting. The work in research and development to create new technologies and services to overcome these real life problems is a unique experience for researchers at ASP. Very few pharmacy schools in the country have this benefit of collaborating with physicians and clinical researchers which helps in the process of clinical translation of technology. It helps as a link between the geneses of an idea to a laboratory prototype all the way to clinical translation.

At Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, an interdisciplinary team of experts from backgrounds as varied as engineering, material science, immunology, polymer chemistry, medicine etc. help each other in the process of development of need-based medical technologies. Pharmaceutical researchers are key people in the interdisciplinary team due to their knowledge of drugs and drug delivery systems. Apart from the superspeciality hospital, other state-of-the-art facilities of the campus include Amrita Centre for Nanoscience and Molecular Medicine, cGMP pilot manufacturing facility and animal house facility. The focus area of research at ASP encompasses topics as varied as pharmaceutical research to patient-directed research with efforts being taken to fix the problem both at the bench as well as at the bedside. The common goal which drives the research efforts at ASP is the development of safe, efficacious, high-quality affordable medication, medical devices and services to improve the health of patients worldwide. Our goal is in alignment with the philosophy of our chancellor, Mata Amritanandamai AMMA’s philosophy of “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”.

Current Research Areas

Areas of Research

Publications

Year of Publication Publication Type Title

2020

Journal Article

V. M. Kurup and Jaya Thomas, “Edible Vaccines: Promises and Challenges.”, Mol Biotechnol, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 79-90, 2020.[Abstract]


Vaccines are biological preparations that improve immunity to particular diseases and form an important innovation of 19th century research. It contains a protein that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weak or killed forms of the microbe. Vaccines are agents that stimulate the body's immune system to recognize the antigen. Now, a new form of vaccine was introduced which will have the power to mask the risk side of conventional vaccines. This type of vaccine was produced from plants which are genetically modified. In the production of edible vaccines, the gene-encoding bacterial or viral disease-causing agent can be incorporated in plants without losing its immunogenic property. The main mechanism of action of edible vaccines is to activate the systemic and mucosal immunity responses against a foreign disease-causing organism. Edible vaccines can be produced by incorporating transgene in to the selected plant cell. At present edible vaccine are developed for veterinary and human use. But the main challenge faced by edible vaccine is its acceptance by the population so that it is necessary to make aware the society about its use and benefits. When compared to other traditional vaccines, edible vaccines are cost effective, efficient and safe. It promises a better prevention option from diseases.

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2020

Journal Article

Athira Kaipuzha Venu, Bandopadhyay, S., Samudrala, P. Kumar, V.G.M. Naidu, Mangala Lahkar, and Chakravarty, S., “An Overview of the Heterogeneity of Major Depressive Disorder: Current Knowledge and Future Prospective”, Current Neuropharmacology, vol. 18, no. 3, 2020.[Abstract]


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is estimated to impose maximum debilitating effectson the society by 2030, with its critical effects on health, functioning, quality of life and concomitanthigh levels of morbidity and mortality. Yet, the disease is inadequately understood, diagnosedand treated. Moreover, with the recent drastic rise in the pace of life, stress has materialized as oneof the most potent environmental factors for depression. In this scenario, it is important to understandthe modern pathogenetic hypotheses and mechanisms, and possibly try to shift from the traditionalapproaches in depression therapy. These include the elaboration of pathophysiologicalchanges in heterogeneous systems such as genetic, epigenetic, serotonergic, noradrenergic, gammaaminobutyricacid, glutamatergic and endocannabinoid systems, neurotrophic factors, HPA axis,immune system as well as cellular stress mechanisms. These components interact with each other ina complex matrix and further elucidation of their mechanism and cascade pathways are needed.This might aid in the identification of MDD subtypes as well as the development of sophisticatedbiomarkers. Further, characterization might also aid in developing multitargeted therapies that holdmuch promise as compared to the conventional monoamine based treatment. New candidate pharmacons,refined psychotherapeutic modalities, advanced neuro-surgical and imaging techniques aswell as the implementation of pharmacokinetic, pharmacogenetic prescribing guidelines constitutethe emerging expanses of MDD treatment.

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2020

Journal Article

Keerthana Raju, P.S, G., Krishnakumar, G., and Sreeja C. Nair, “Vesosomes: New Prospects in Multi Compartment Vesicular Drug Delivery System”, International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 869-877, 2020.[Abstract]


In the modern era of pharmaceutical research to improve the solubility, drug targeting, bioavailability, various drug delivery systems are discovered. To improve the efficacy and therapeutic activity these systems have advanced from micro to nano scale. Later, a need for multicompartment system arised with liposome encapsulated with drug consisting a bilayer displays high stability and retention is a promising efficient drug carrier. Vesosome is one of the systems that can improve the bioavailability of the drug, duration of action and reduces toxicity. It contain multiple vesicles that can be either multilamellar or unilamellar that are aggregated to each other forms an interior bi layer structure. Vesosomes are sub microscopic in size and dimensions are about 0.5 micron to >5 microns. This review point out various vesicular drug delivery systems and will help researchers in the area of drug delivery.

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2020

Journal Article

S. Sivaprasadan, Mathew, J. S., Surendran, S., and Dr. Umadevi P., “Pregnancy After Liver Transplantation: Outcomes From a Single-Center Experience”, Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 329 - 333, 2020.[Abstract]


Background/Objectives Although much has been learnt regarding pregnancy after liver transplantation, data from India are scant. Hence, we evaluated the maternal and fetal outcomes of pregnancies after liver transplantation at our center. Methods We conducted a retrospective review of all patients who underwent liver transplantation and later conceived at our center between 2006 and 2019. Results Of the 750 liver transplantations performed at our center, 129 were female and 62 of them were in the childbearing age group (15–44 years). A total of seven conceptions occurred in seven patients during the study period. All the pregnancies occurred spontaneously. The median age of the patients at the time of liver transplantation and conception was 25 years (range, 24–33 years) and 29 years (range, 26–36 years), respectively. The median interval between transplantation and conception was 40 months (range, 7–48 months). All patients were on tacrolimus monotherapy. None of the patients had rejection during pregnancy despite a low median tacrolimus trough level of 2.7 ng/mL. Live birth (five cesarean and one normal) occurred in six of seven pregnancies at a median gestation age of 37.5 weeks. Mean birth weight was 3055.8 g (range, 2470–3635 g). Antenatal rubella infection and grade III intrauterine growth restriction resulting in still birth at 29 weeks occurred in one patient. The median postnatal follow-up was 25 months (range, 2–81 months). All babies and mothers were healthy. Conclusions Pregnancy after liver transplantation has a favorable outcome with a multidisciplinary team approach. There is a physiological reduction of tacrolimus trough levels during pregnancy for which dose augmentation is not usually required.

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2020

Journal Article

R. Krishna, Raj, J., Dev, D., Prasad, S. C., Remya Reghu, and V., S. O., “A study on clinical outcomes of combination of terlipressin and albumin in Hepatorenal Syndrome”, Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 55, no. 7, pp. 860-864, 2020.[Abstract]


Background

Hepatorenal Syndrome (HRS) is a reversible functional renal impairment that occurs in patients with advanced liver cirrhosis or those with fulminant hepatic failure

Aim

To evaluate the effect of terlipressin and albumin combination in various clinical outcomes in Hepatorenal Syndrome patients

Methods and Material: It was a prospective study involving 50 patients with HRS. The effectiveness parameters of the treatments were: confirmed HRS reversal, Recurrence of HRS within 90 days of treatment and mortality rate up to 90 days. The safety assessment includes adverse events collected up to 14 days of post-treatment. The quality of life of HRS patients was assessed using SF-12 questionnaire.

Results

In the present study the mean age of patients was found to be 55.10 ± 9.35 years. Mean serum creatinine values were found to be reduced (1.22 ± 0.96) by 10th day in type 1 HRS which indicated improved renal function. Study patients showed a marked improvement in liver function throughout the observation period. 74% of patients did not have HRS recurrence and 79.48% of patients had completely relieved from HRS. Loose stool (14.2%) and hyponatremia (14.2%) were the prominent side effects of the therapy. The quality of life of patients also showed a statistically significant betterment in both physical and mental functioning.

Conclusions

Our study concluded that terlipressin and albumin combination was safe and effective in successfully stabilising cirrhosis patients with Hepatorenal Syndrome and bridging eligible patients to liver transplantation by restoring the liver and renal function with minimal adverse effects.

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2020

Journal Article

S. Kunnath Joseph, Dr. Sabitha M., and Sreeja C. Nair, “Stimuli-Responsive Polymeric Nanosystem for Colon Specific Drug Delivery”, Adv Pharm Bull, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 1-12, 2020.[Abstract]


An ideal colon specific drug delivery system needs to perform multiple functions like greater bio availability, less toxicity and higher therapeutic efficacy, all of which require high degree of smartness. This article focuses on the overview of the stimuli-responsive polymers and various nanodrug delivery systems which have found applications in colon specific delivery of drugs as this system provide a link between therapeutic need and drug delivery. These polymers exhibit a non-linear response to a small stimulus leading to a macroscopic alteration in their structure/properties. Stimuli responsive polymers display a significant physio chemical change in response to small changes in their environment (temperature, pH, light etc.). Colonic drug delivery has gained increased importance in treating diseases like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colon cancer etc. The expansion in the development of polymers based system with greater flexibility, versatility and unexplored potential enables new opportunities for them in uplifting bio medicine. Applying the concepts of smartness in the context of clinically relevant therapeutic and diagnostic systems, it can prelude in a new era of ‘smart’ therapeutics that can improve the health care fields. In particular, due to its high sensitivity to the stimuli, this system has been identified as a sensible platform for releasing drug at suitable site and at appropriate time.

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2020

Journal Article

Dr. Kaladhar Kamalasanan and S, S., “Controlled drug delivery for alopecia: A review”, Journal of Controlled Release, vol. 325, pp. 84-99, 2020.[Abstract]


Alopecia or hair loss is a benign treatable disorder which, over time, becomes chronic, affecting a significant fraction of the population that affects the patient’s self-esteem and quality of life. The existing treatment regimen for alopecia is inadequate for drug delivery directly to hair follicles to result in continuous hair growth. The challenges are due to multiple-dose regimes and patient non-adherence, where it requires motivated clinical attention. Developing a prolonged drug delivery system by exploration of specific pathways to advance the delivery system into nanomedicine would be beneficial for clinical advancement. In this review, factors affecting the progress of the current therapeutic regimen towards controlled release nanomedicine (CRNM’s) are analysed for existing clinical unmet needs, current treatment strategy, and research efforts taken in this direction. Correspondingly, changes in anatomy and pathophysiology of hair growth being analyzed in detail to focus the exact scenario of hair growth cycle and supplementation of medication. Besides, the current treatment regimen with various classes of drugs, their different pathways, and dosing limitations are analyzed. Possibilities of research effort for prolonged drug delivery are discussed in detail, including marketed products, clinical trials as well as various patents filed in the direction. Repurposing of multiple therapeutics using the nanotechnology platform, subsequently, results in a strategy to develop nanomedicine to treat alopecia, which could develop into several technologies (CRNM’s), fore coming years from now.

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2020

Journal Article

Dr. Kaladhar Kamalasanan, “Biomimetic conjoining pathways for COVID-19 drug discovery, nanomedicine and medical devices: Prophylactic medicines as alternative for vaccines”, Trends in Biomaterials and Artificial Organs, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 73-74, 2020.[Abstract]


COVID-19 pandemic is now beyond control and needs easily translatable therapeutic solutions. Here, the possibilities of developing prophylactic antiviral formulations that can be interfaced with medical devices are discussed exploring novel molecular pathways and biomimetic engineering approaches.

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2020

Journal Article

Dr. Kaladhar Kamalasanan, “Zero-dimensional nanotubes as nano-devices to dismantle COVID-19: Possibilities of advanced coatings, "nano-instant vaccines" and "prophynostics"”, Trends in Biomaterials and Artificial Organs, vol. 34(S2), pp. 38-43, 2020.

2020

Journal Article

Dr. Kaladhar Kamalasanan, “Drug Delivery in New Decade of 2020 Onwards: Considerations for Designing Diffusion Based Drug Delivery Devices”, Trends in Biomaterials and Artificial Organs, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 73-74, 2020.[Abstract]


Drug delivery devices are gaining interest particularly in the long term management of chronic dseases. This perspective gives insight into major considerations that need to be given while developing diffusion-based drug delivery devices particularly with respect to biodegradable nanosystems

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