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​​Target-specific Gastro-intestinal Delivery of Nano-Nutraceuticals and Nano-modulating Systems for Reducing Absorption of Unwanted Substances – A Sustainable Approach

The focus on alternative therapeutic strategies to maximize patient recovery is on the rise. Nutraceuticals are one of the key candidates currently explored as alternative or adjunctive therapy, whether t​o overcome the side effects or to act in synergy with drugs. Unfortunately, being of plant origin, most nutraceuticals are labile compounds, and suffer from the disadvantage of bioactivity loss. 

The emphasis of this project therefore lies in the use of a targeted food-based nano-carrier for the ‘protected’ nutraceuticals to exert their action at the intended site. In order to materialize this approach to maximum efficiency, the oral route would be best suited, owing to the ease of administration to the patient as a supplement or food additive. Although many intelligent design strategies have been incorporated into developing carriers as delivery systems, the successful delivery of nutraceuticals to specific parts of the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT), to increase bioavailability and enhance efficacy, is still a challenge. 

Commercially available enteric coatings cannot be applied at the nano-scale, and are also not suitable for food-based applications. ​Hence, developing a food-grade, targeted, nutraceutical-encapsulated nano-carrier would be a combinatorial approach to fill the gap in this unmet area. Another focus within this project is in designing an ingested nanoplatform to reduce GIT absorption of specific dietary substances (e.g. fat) or toxins.  

With a far-reaching aim of making nanotechnology-based nutraceutical products available commercially, this project also aims to evaluate the public perception of such products in the market. The environmental, health and safety of these novel products will also be assessed as part of product development using state-of-the-art in-vitro and in-vivo approaches, inclusive of toxicological and microbiome assessments.

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