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Mauritius Research Council (MRC)

Biomaterials & Drug Delivery


The main objective of this program which is the major thrust of the Centre for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research (CBBR – http://vcilt.uom.ac.mu/biomedical/) is to develop world class research, facilities and human resources in the area of high-tech materials for medical and pharmaceutical applications.
 
 
Scaffolds for tissue and bone regeneration
 

Objective: to develop biodegradable and biocompatible polymeric nanoscaffolds that allow cell attachment, infiltration and proliferation for bone or tissue regeneration.

Brief: Nanofibres are fabricated by electrospinning. The focus is presently on nanoscaffolds that combine synthetic and locally available natural polymers. Another part of this research involves the development of sucrose-based polymers as hydrogels for tissue engineering applications.
 
 

Drug Delivery
 

Objective: to develop polymeric nanocarriers – nanomicelles and nanovesicles – for sustained and more efficient delivery of anti-TB, anti-cancer and opiate drugs.

Brief: An important focus of this research is on combination of synthetic drugs with natural molecules for synergistic mechanism of action, particularly addressing the complexity of cancer.
                              
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This research programme is headed by Prof Dhanjay Jhurry.
 
jhurry.PNGHe received his PhD in Polymer Chemistry in 1992 from Bordeaux-1 University (France). After spending three years as Research Chemist at Flamel Technologies Co. (Lyon in France) working on biomedical polymers, he joined the Dept. of Chemistry at the University of Mauritius as Lecturer and was appointed Professor in 2005. He also heads the Centre for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research (CBBR) at the University of Mauritius – a centre recognized as Centre of Excellence by the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI).

Prof. Jhurry has been involved in various community outreach projects in the past recent years and organized several Workshops and International Conferences: NSF-funded Biomaterials Workshop; Setting up of a Bio-based Industry in Mauritius; Analyzing the Key Determinants of the Mauritian Innovation System (ANIS); International Conference on Nanomaterials; APA-2016 Conference on Advanced Polymers, Biomaterials, Bioengineering and Nano Drug Delivery.

He has received various national and international awards and recognition including the first Best Mauritian Scientist Award in 2011, the ‘Commander of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean’ insignia by the Rep. of Mauritius in 2012 and the ‘Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques’ insignia by the Rep. of France in 2007. He is a member of the Advisory Editorial Board of Polymer International and Vice-President of the COMESA Innovation Council.
 
 
Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Research Team
 
 


  
Projects

I. Engineering biodegradable polymer materials
 
bio4.PNGThe main focus is on biodegradable and biomedical polymers. In addition to the polyesters, polypetides, saccharide-based polymers and natural polymers, the synthesis of a new family of poly(ester-ether)s from dioxanone and methyl dioxanone) has opened up new perspectives for applications as scaffolds or drug delivery devices. 
 
 
 

II. Bone and Tissue Engineering
 
Blends and copolymers are electrospun into nanofibres. Human dermal fibroblasts and osteoblasts are grown on these scaffolds. The combination of these synthetic polymers are currently being investigated with locally available natural polymers such as cellulose from sugar-cane bagasse, carrageenans, agarose or fucoidans originating from seaweeds, acemannan from endemic aloe species as well as aloe vera, bacterial polymers such as poly(hydroxybutyrate). On-going studies include
 
• Elaboration of a vascular conduit from electrospun fibers of blends of synthetic and natural polymers
• Elaboration of bio-composite materials for tissue-engineering applications
• Polysaccharide-based hydrogel scaffolds for tissue engineering application
 
 
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III. Drug Delivery

Our Research into nano drug delivery systems is particular geared towards engineering of nanocarriers to address cancer, TB and opiate problems. Our work has focused on combination therapy through multiple encapsulation of anti-cancer drugs and/or biomolecules (e.g. artemisinin, noni extract) in nanomicelles and nanovesicles. Another interest of our research is to exploit the synergistic effects of combination of classical anti-cancer drugs and drugs used for other diseases, for instance anti-cancer and anti-diabetic drugs. On-going studies:

• Controlled release of anti-tubercular drugs: in vivo testing
• Multi-agent nano systems for cancer treatment
• Nanocarriers for artemisinin (for chemotherapy in combination with other anti-cancer drugs)
• Elaboration of a controlled release naltrexone depot (opiate delivery)
• Protein loading into sucrose-based hydrogels
 
 
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Facilities
 
Chemical Synthesis & Materials Engineering Labs
 
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Electsrospinning Machine (Inovenso), High vacuum lines, fume hoods (Esco), Air Science Vertical Laminar Flow cabinet (Air Science), vacuum pumps, oven, lyophilizer (Telstar), Glove-Box (VAC), Incubator-Shaker (Rexmed), Ultra turaxx (IKA)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Analytical Lab
 
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Size Exclusion Chromatograph (PSS), DSC/TGA (Netzsch), UV Spectrometer (Biochrom), Particle Size Analyzer (Brookhaven)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
  Funding Agency: MRC & TEC
 
Bio-Lab for in vitro testing:
 
bio9.PNGBiosafety Cabinet Level II (Esco), Ultra-Low-Freezer (Operon), CO2 Incubator (Binder), Refrigerated Centrifuge (Thermo), Hemocytometer (Sigma), Fluorescence Microscope (Evos), Autoclave (VWR),
Pharma press (Carver), Dissolution Tester (USP, Erweka), Bench top vortex, ATCC Cell lines 
 
 
 
 
Selected Publications (2012-2015)
 
  • A Bhaw-Luximon and D Jhurry. New avenues for improving Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) treatment: selective stroma depletion combined with nano drug delivery. Cancer Lett. 369(2), 266–273, 2015 [IF: 5.621]

 

  • N Goonoo, R Jeetah, A Bhaw-Luximon, D Jhurry. Polydioxanone-based Bio-Materials for Tissue Engineering and Drug/Gene Delivery Applications. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 97, 371–391, 2015 [IF: 4.245]

 

  • N Goonoo, A Bhaw-Luximon, D.Jhurry. Biodegradable polymer blends: miscibility, physico-chemical properties and biological response of scaffolds. Polymer International 64(10), 1289–1302(2015) [IF: 2.409]

 

  • N Goonoo, A Bhaw-Luximon, IA Rodriguez, D Wesner, H Schonherr, GL Bowlin, D Jhurry. Poly(ester-ether)s: III. Assessment of cell behavior on nanofibrous scaffolds of PCL, PLLA and PDX blended with amorphous PMeDX. Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 3:673, 2015 [IF: 4.726]

 

  • N Goonoo, A Bhaw-Luximon, R Ujoodha, A Jhugroo, GK Hulse, D Jhurry. Naltrexone: A review of existing sustained drug delivery systems and emerging nano-based systems. Journal of Controlled Release, 183:154, 2014 [IF: 7.705]

 

  • N Goonoo, A Bhaw-Luximon, IA Rodriguez, D Wesner, H Schönherr, GL Bowlin, D Jhurry. Poly(ester-ether)s: II. Properties of electrospun nanofibres from polydioxanone and poly(methyl dioxanone) blends and human fibroblast cellular proliferation; Biomaterials Science, 2(3), 339–351, 2014 [IF: 3.831]

 

  • R Jeetah, A Bhaw-Luximon, D Jhurry. Polymeric nanomicelles for sustained delivery of anti-cancer drugs. Mutation Research, 768:47, 2014 [IF: 3.680]

 

  • A Veeren, A Bhaw-Luximon, D Jhurry. Polyvinylpyrrolidone–polycaprolactone block copolymer micelles as nanocarriers of anti-TB drugs. European Polymer Journal, 49:3034, 2013 [IF: 3.242]

 

  • R Jeetah, A Bhaw-Luximon, D Jhurry. New amphiphilic PEG-b-P(ester–ether) micelles as potential drug nanocarriers. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 14:1168, 2012 [IF: 2.278]

 

Patent - D Jhurry and A Bhaw-Luximon - No. 2013/00961 (2013) (South Africa), ‘A method of preparing an amphiphilic graft copolymer’

 

 
Government Partners, University & Industry 

 

Mauritius: MRC, UoM, Ministry of Health & Quality of Life; CapResearch
 
USA: Memphis University, Mayo Clinic, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory, Tufts University,
India: BioScience Research Centre, Visakhapatnam
 
Germany: University of Siegen
 
France: Institut Charles Gerhardt (Montpellier)
 
Regional: Bionexx Co. Madagascar, CYROI (La Reunion)