Graduate Student Council Research Grants


Design and evaluation of a novel acid-resistant capsule filled with freeze-dried therapeutic nanoparticles for the treatment of malaria relapse

Document Type



Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences

Publication Date



Malaria, caused by parasites of the genus Plasmodium, is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world. An estimated 216 million cases were reported in 2016, of which 445,000 people died from Malaria[1]. The parasite P. vivax develops dormant form, known as a hypnozoite, in the liver which later becomes a reservoir of infection [2]. Primaquine (PQ), introduced seven decades ago, has been used to eliminate the liver stages of the parasite and eradicate Malaria. However, PQ has to be taken at a low dosage over a long period of time. The application of higher doses of PQ is limited by several side effects including GI tract intolerability and hemolytic toxicity in certain patients who are deficient in enzyme glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) [3-5]. Intravenous delivery of drug-loaded nanoparticles has been studied and proven to lower the total dosage of the drugs, thereby reducing the systemic toxicity. However, delivery of PQ through oral route showed only marginal improvements due to the nanoparticles being rapidly degraded in the gastrointestinal tract and that they do not solely target the liver. In the proposal, we aim to design a new oral liver-targeted nanodrug delivery system —an acid-resistant capsule filled with the freeze-dried, drug-loaded nanoparticles— to improve the safety and bioavailability of PQ.

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