Seminar: Pharmaceutical Engineering of Multifunctional Nanoparticles for Enhanced Cancer Therapy


Presenter: Prof. Shyh-Dar Li

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Topic: Pharmaceutical Engineering of Multifunctional Nanoparticles for Enhanced Cancer Therapy

Date: Tuesday, Jan 7th, 2014

Time: 9:00 am

Venue: Conference Room D, 909-1F


Nanoparticle-based drug delivery is an emerging technology for targeting anticancer drugs to tumors, and a number of nanoparticle-based drugs are now in clinical applications as chemotherapeutics. While these nanomedicines exhibit reduced toxicity, most candidates and products do not enhance efficacy in human patients. The failure of current nanomedicines to achieve enhanced safety and efficacy is largely attributed to limited tumor bioavailability, and is an issue of suboptimal drug release profile. For example, drug release from Doxil? (PEGylated liposomal doxorubicin) is slow (<1%/day), leading to reduced bioavailability in tumors; paclitaxel partitions rapidly out of Abraxane? (nanoparticle albumin bound paclitaxel) during blood circulation, and the pharmacokinetic and biodistribution profiles are not enhanced compared to the native drug. My research focuses on addressing the critical issue of site-specific drug release, and my team has created two nanoparticle drug delivery technologies that enhance tumor bioavailability. The first technology is a polysaccharide drug conjugate that targets docetaxel to tumor stroma and exhibits sustained release within the tumor microenvironment. The second technology is a thermosensitive liposome that is triggered to burst-release the drug cargo in seconds within a locally heated tumor (39-43°C). Both technologies have shown enhanced efficacy and reduced toxicity in multiple animal models compared to standard chemotherapy.


Shyh-Dar Li received a B.S. in Pharmacy and a M.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from National Taiwan University. He then joined the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan, where he invented two nanomedicine technologies for delivering oligonucleotide and peptide to tumors and brain. These technologies have been licensed by Andros Pharmaceuticals (Taiwan) and to-BBB technologies (The Netherlands). Dr. Li obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His thesis project focused on developing tumor-targeted nanoparticles for siRNA delivery, and this technology along with others from the Huang lab led to the launch of a start-up company, Qualiber. Dr. Li completed his postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Diego, where he developed a polysaccharide conjugate of cisplatin for intraperitoneal chemotherapy. He joined the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research as a Principal Investigator in 2009 focusing on drug delivery research. His lab has created two proprietary technologies to enhance cancer chemotherapy, including a thermosensitive liposomal formulation (HaT) and a polymeric conjugate platform (Cellax). His work has been published in scholarly journals, and his lab has been supported by major funding agencies in Canada and the U.S. Dr. Li has received a number of prestigious research awards, including Prostate Cancer Foundation Young PI Award, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists New PI Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research New PI Award, and Canadian Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences Early Career Award.


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