IIEST, Shibpur

Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur

(Formerly Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur)

Empowering the nation since 1856

Trojan horse to transport drugs to brain

K. S. Jayaraman (Nature India)

Delivering drugs to the brain – crossing the so-called blood brain barrier (BBB) – has always been a challenge. The BBB protects the functionality of the brain and central nervous system. Now, in what is claimed to be the first demonstration, Indian researchers have shown that nano carbon can easily cross the barrier – a discovery that has the potential to help Alzheimer, Parkinson or brain tumor patients1.

The researchers have shown the crossing of small-sized water soluble fluorescent carbon ‘nano onions’ (wsCNO) through the blood brain barrier in mice. One of the researchers SabyasachiSarkar at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur in West Bengal told Nature India that the wsCNO got readily excreted from the body after a few days suggesting their possible use as couriers for drug delivery to the brain.

Sarkar and co-workers created the carbon nano onions from cheap carbon sources like wood wool – a simple approach they had developed five years ago. ‘Oxidative treatment’, using nitric acid as the oxidizing agent, endowed them with photo luminescent properties and made them soluble in water. The researchers had earlier used the wsCNO thus created for in vivo imaging of the entire life cycle of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). They had also showed that this nano carbon can feed micro nutrients as well as water to young saplings even in arid zones "just like spoon feeding by mother.” 

"Based on such usefulness of these nano onions, we decided to find out if they could also cross the BBB and reach the brain," Sarkar said.

To test this, the researchers developed a simple process to fragment the wsCNO and reduce their size. This consisted of nitric acid treatment in water bath followed by vacuum drying over solid sodium hydroxide. "Giving this treatment thrice, resulted in a crop of remarkably smaller fractions of nano onions less than 15 nm in size," Sarkar said.
In experiments spanning 6 to 8 months, old transgenic mice were induced with glioblastomamultiforme, a type of brain tumour, and CADASIL, a genetic disorder that contributes to vascular dementia in humans.
The experiment involved injecting the wsCNO in the tail of the mice and imaging their brain. "We observed the passage of wsCNO to the tumour and also to the neuronal sites," the researchers said. "The mice were then sacrificed and their brain slice were imaged by fluorescence microscopy to demonstrate the presence of wsCNO."

Interestingly the images of the brain of animals sacrificed after a wait period of three days showed no sign of nano carbons suggesting that the wsCNO do not accumulate in the brain of the animals but get released in their excreta.

"Thus we are delighted to report that wsCNO cross through the BBB and enter the brain without causing any perfusion," the report concludes. "This raises immense possibilities for drug delivery to the brain."

The researchers suggest that "at this stage it would be prudent to exploit the basic structure and different sizes of wsCNO which should carry and unload drug molecules of interest like a Trojan horse and can readily be removed from the site after the delivery."

1.    Pakhira, B. et al. Carbon nano onions cross blood brain barrier. RSC Adv. (2016) doi: 10.1039/C5RA23534K




Report on the Conference on Challenges in Product Development of Medical Implants and Devices on 18-19th December, 2015

CPDM 2015

Medical devices have become such a vital part of modern healthcare and it is now well established that practically no diagnosis or treatment is possible without them. According to the WHO, there are about 1.5 million medical devices available today, ranging from low cost devices like the thermometer and stethoscope to expensive, highly sophisticated devices like MRI and chemotherapy machines. With the increasing complexity and connectivity of medical devices, the role of medical device development is becoming more crucial. This connectivity has made it possible for doctors to diagnose and treat patients. Increasingly technology component in design and manufacturing of healthcare devices is becoming more important as the nation embraces to make them accessible and affordable for all people of the country.

Keeping this in view, Centre for Healthcare Science and Technology, IIEST Shibpur with cordial support from Centre for Excellence on Micro-structurally Designed Advanced Materials, TEQIP-II recently organized a Conference on Challenges in Product Development of Medical Implants and Devices on 18-19th December, 2015. This Industry Institute conference was dedicated to discuss different challenges encountered in successful translation research, product development and marketing of medical implants, electronics, materials, diagnostics, instrumentation and software products.

This conference brought together leading academic scientists, researchers, clinical practitioners, industrialists, entrepreneurs, healthcare administrators, and regulatory policy makers to share cutting-edge research experiences, problems, case studies and strategize solutions for emerging medical device market in the country.Of all, about 50 speakers representing reputed institutions from India and abroad participation also including 10 industry representatives, start up companies. Meeting was attended by total 150 delegates, and students.

Inaugural Session of CPDM 2015.

Conference started with inaugural talk by Prof. T. Lazar Mathew, who has served as Director of over three DRDO institutions. He emphasized the role of product development process in ensuring good healthcare for people of the country. In the inaugural ceremony, Prof. Amit Kumar Das, Dean (Academic Affairs), IIEST Shibpur delivered the Presidential address while Prof. P. P. Chattopadhyay, Director NIFFT Ranchi spoke about the role of TEQIP II CoE in promoting this interaction.

Prof. Brain Derby delivering the Plenarytalk on Day 1.

Prof. Brian Derby from School of Materials, University of Manchester, delivered the plenary lecture on day I (18th Nov) on ‘Bio-printing and Bio-fabrication: Principles and Applications’. Prof. BikramjitBasu, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, delivered the keynote talk on Patient-specific femoral ball head and acetabular socket for total Hip Joint Replacement: Labscale research to prototype development.


These were followed by sessions on biosensors wherein Dr. Debjani Paul, Dr. Samir Kumar Biswas and Mr. Pugal from Perfint Healthcare gave the talks.

Subsequently, an industry institute interaction Panel discussion was held to deliberate upon creation of right eco-system for medical device product development process. Dr. HimadriSekharMaiti, Ex-Director, CGCRI, Kolkata chaired the same whereas Prof. Sanjay Gupta, IIT Kharagpur, Dr. Subhankar Kumar (IPGMER), Mr. Ravi Sarangapani (Adler Mediquip) and Dr. Kanika Das Bhattacharya (In Charge IIPC Cell, IIEST Shibpur) participated and they created a strategy for development of such eco system.

Industry Institute Interaction Session

On Day 2, the plenary talks were delivered by Prof. AbhayPandit, National University of Ireland, Galway, and Dr. Chandra Prakash Sharma of SCTIMST Trivandrum. They showed some inspiring examples of product development of medical devices initiated by academic institutions. Some other case studies were presented by Prof. NareshBhatnagar of IIT Delhi and Prof. SumanKapur of BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus. From industry side, Mr. SumitAgarwal of Boston Scientific and Dr. Aroop Kumar Dutta of Excel Matix Bio-devices, Hyderabad were some of the eminent speakers and they enlightened with the expectation from academic institutions for the process. Finally, some students presented their works and prizes were given for the best oral and poster presentations.

Throughout the two days, a product exhibition was also held of indigenously developed products were displayed.

Technical Session in Progress

The meeting ended with the valedictory session with several delegates expressing appreciation for IIEST to take initiative in this regard and presented a keen desire to organize meetings in these important topics in future, possibly at different locations in India.

Prize Distribution

Prof. Mainak Sengupta becomes elite IEEE Senior Member

Prof Mainak Sengupta of Electrical Engineering Department has been elevated to the grade of Senior Member of Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers. This is the highest professional grade of IEEE for which a member can apply. Only about 9 % of 4,33,000 members have achieved this level.

IIEST, Shibpur academic community congratulates Prof Sengupta for this feat.

Alumnus offers 350 crores for hospital at IIEST

Times of India, November 26: An alumnus of BE College, Shibpur - now an IIEST - has offered to donate Rs 350 crore to set up a 200-bed hospital on the campus. This is more than the Rs 230 crore the Union government has sanctioned for the medical college to come up at IIT-Kharagpur. Mahadev Kundu, a 1968 batch civil engineering graduate from BE College, works as a consultant in the US. His only wish is that the hospital be named after his wife, who is a very successful doctor there. The proposed name is Usha Kundu MD Medical College and Hospital. If this project comes true, it will put the country's first IIEST - a nearly 160-year-old institution - in a different league altogether.

"IIEST has over 150 years of experience in engineering education in India. Therefore, it is a natural choice to house such a modern medical school to implement the convergence of engineering, science, technology and medicine. It has existing teaching staff for most of the basic science, medical technology and information technology courses in the existing facilities," reads Kundu's proposal.

An official at IIEST said Kundu selected his alma mater because he has a "strong bond with the institution". "The proposal is to set up the medical college and hospital in the name of his wife who is a doctor," the official said. IIEST director Ajay Roy has placed the proposal before the senate, where the main concern during the discussions was finding the land for the hospital. Roy plans to meet state government officials and request them to allocate 10 acres. "The proposed hospital needs practicing physicians and surgeons from the private sector to bring patients for surgeries. Kolkata has a large pool of competent physicians and surgeons. We will be able to recruit teaching staff. The institute is an ideal location and the medical school and hospital, if it becomes a reality, can cater to a large segment of Kolkata's population," Roy said. "I hope chief minister Mamata Banerjee will consider the proposal to allot land once we approach her. The HRD ministry, too, will consider our proposal sympathetically and give the requisite permissions."

The proposal specifies that the hospital-cum-medical school will aim to provide a "biomedical science-centric model of education", enhanced by convergence of engineering science and technology. It envisages 3D anatomy classrooms and integrating healthcare with smartphones, tabs and other futuristic devices. "They (the Kundus) have proposed to design the medical college by fusing engineering, computing, health science and medicine," added Roy. "The proposal also mentions research on drugs. We may also set up a centre for forensic medicine," he added. The project envisages creating a patient transport system, continuing education for practicing doctors, telemedicine in every town and live video telecast of surgeries to MBBS students.

"Kundu Charitable Trust” will be willing to donate majority of its assets to the medical college and hospital once it is approved. Funds will be distributed over a 10-year period from the retirement account and remainder as per their estate planning documents. There will be other sources of income from donations, grants, tuition fee of students. The initial fund will be for building the hospital and part of the medical school for 100 students a year.

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