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AUS professor wins Innovation Pioneers Awards for novel development in Cancer Nanomedicine
A professor from American University of Sharjah (AUS), has won one of the Technology and Innovation Pioneers (TIP) Healthcare Awards, awarded in the category of proof of concept. Dr. Ghaleb Husseini, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Dana Gas Chair, and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the AUS College of Engineering (CEN), received the award from Her Excellency Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and His Excellency Sheikh Abdulla Bin Mohamed Al Hamed, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health at a special ceremony held in Abu Dhabi recently.
The awards are an annual event that recognize innovations in the health sector. A total of AED three million from the government will be distributed among the winners with an additional AED 30 million in commitments from the private sector.
The novel, patent-pending AUS invention, entitled “Ultrasound Triggered Cancer Nanomedicine” promises improvements in chemotherapy efficiency while reducing its side effects. This innovation is a culmination of six years of research led by a Professor Husseini and 17 researchers and collaborators with over 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Speaking about his research, Dr. Husseini said:
“Our innovative approach works by first encapsulating a standard chemotherapy drug in nano-sized lipid capsules then conjugating a ‘key’ that directs these targeted nanocarrier to the ‘lock’ on the surface of cancer cells. Hence the chemotherapeutic will accumulate preferentially at the cancer site while minimizing its effects on healthy cells. Finally, once the capsules reach the diseased malignant site, we apply ultrasound on the affected area to break the capsules and release the therapeutic agent.
“The result is a precision drug delivery method that increases therapeutic efficiency while reducing the side effects and damage to healthy cells. With this award, our work moves a step closer to the market as we begin our preclinical development work.”
Commenting on the project, Zeyad Almajed, Business and Commercialization Advisor to the AUS College of Engineering, said:
“This is a significant development in the healthcare industry where ultrasound and nanomedicine unite in the fight against cancer. Sharjah is set to be a life science innovator on a global scale.
“It is also a good example of how investment in science and research produces technological innovation. Furthermore, it is one of many high impact projects in the pipeline at the AUS College of Engineering and we look forward to seeing these pioneering projects come from the lab to market in the near future.”
Organized and supported by the Ministry of Economy and the Abu Dhabi Economic Department, TIP Healthcare is a funding mechanism to encourage innovation and commercialization in the healthcare sector. According to its website, the objective of the TIP Healthcare Awards is to “establish a sustainable world-class platform to encourage quality and competitive, healthcare innovation, on a global scale; by attracting innovators and entrepreneurs from all over the world and to stimulate innovation across a wide healthcare spectrum.”
Dr. Husseini’s achievement is yet another example of the innovative research being done by faculty members at AUS and the university’s commitment to bringing solutions to challenges faced by society not only at the national but at an international scale.