My passion is to develop novel targeted (nano)therapies against fibrosis and fibrosis-driven tumors by integrating novel technologies with advanced biology.
After obtaining Masters in Pharmacology from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, I joined University of Groningen to pursue my PhD. I worked on the development of targeted therapies against kidney fibrosis and successfully obtained PhD with cum laude in 2006.
Thereafter, I joined BiOrion Technologies BV with a joint researcher position at the University of Groningen. During this period, I developed several products in line of liver fibrosis and cancer, which are currently in the development phases. Besides that, I co-supervised two PhD students on the topic “hepatic stellate cell targeting of biological and kinase inhibitors to treat liver fibrosis”. In parallel, I set up a new line of research on tumor stroma targeting to develop novel diagnostics and therapeutics for cancer.
To gain new knowledge and experience in tumor stroma field, in early 2011 I joined the group of Prof. Arne Östman at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm by receiving two prestigious grants Swedish Cancer Foundation grant and Marie Curie Career Integration Grant. In short time, I became Assistant Professor in the Department of Oncology-Pathology of Karolinska Institutet. I also received a Young Researcher Swedish Research Council grant to develop new targeted nanotherapeutics against cancer.
In late 2012, I was appointed as Tenure-track Assistant Professor at Targeted Therapeutics section of Biomaterials, Science and Technology, located at the MIRA Institute of Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine in the University of Twente. I obtained several grants from Dutch Kidney Foundation, Phospholipid Research Centre Heidelberg, MIRA, STW and KWF.
Besides that, I am associated to the group of Prof. Östman at the Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
In 2016, I has founded a UT spin-off company ScarTec Therapeutics BV., which aims to develop novel therapeutic technologies for inhibiting scar formation.
The research goal of the Prakash lab is to design and develop new cell-specific targeting strategies to address fibrosis and fibrosis-driven cancer. Fibrosis or scarring is described as the excessive deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) in an organ, which may lead to dysfunction of the organ and eventually death. In recent years, the contribution of fibrosis in cancer has received enormous attention due to its contribution in inducing tumor progression and metastasis. In addition, fibrotic stromal tissue hampers drug delivery to the tumors, thereby reducing therapeutic efficacy of anticancer agents.
Myofibroblasts are key cell type in organ fibrosis and tumor stroma. By means of targeting to myofibroblasts, the Prakash lab is developing novel therapeutics and diagnostics (Theranostics) for organ fibrosis and cancer. Besides myofibroblasts, macrophages are another key target cells in the tumor microenvironment. The following are the major areas in which his team is actively working on.
- Understanding the difference between myofibroblasts’ phenotype in organ fibrosis and cancer
- Discovering new targets in myofibroblasts in organ fibrosis and tumor stroma
- Designing of targeting ligands e.g. peptides to therapy and drug delivery
- Targeted delivery of nanoparticles including liposomes and polymeric nanoparticles
- Developing 3D spheroid models to mimic tumor microenvironment for studying nanomedicine
- Preclinical studies for targeted nanomedicine in fibrosis and tumor stroma mouse models (therapeutic efficacy and imaging)
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In the press
- Tubantia Newspaper, “UT sets new steps in the treatment of pancreatic cancer”, 10 Nov 2017. https://www.tubantia.nl/regio/ut-zet-flinke-stappen-in-behandeling-alvleesklierkanker~a2caecdc/
- U-Today, Science and Technology magazine “Novel treatment to kill cancer by targeting stroma” Oct, 2017. https://www.utoday.nl/science/64599/unique-treatment-from-twente-effectively-kills-cancer
- “KNCV Golden Master award 2017” to Marcel Heinrich (PhD student under my supervision), for his master project in my group on "Lipids against Cancer". https://www.c2w.nl/verenigingen-8751/lipide-tegen-kanker/item19184