The Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IITB) is developing TB Nanodots, a skin patch which could rid patients of tablets and injections while being treated for tuberculosis (TB)
The patch will be embedded with 100 micron micro needles and two layers of nanoparticles, one of which will be loaded with the TB drugs.
“There is too much non-compliance by patients during the tuberculosis treatment since it involves regularly taking many drugs at one time and injections in severe cases, to complete a entire course. Access to TB medication is also problematic in rural areas,” said Dr Aravind Kumar, co-investigator.
At present, patients have to be enrolled with the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), which is a six-month to eight-month treatment. Under the programme, a TB patient has to visit the DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy, Short Course) centre and take the drugs every alternate day before the DOTS provider for the entire course. In cases of multidrug resistant TB, the patient has to take an injection along with oral medicines everyday before the DOTS provider.
“Our innovation is aimed at a sustained sunlight mediated drug delivery system that will eliminate the need for the patient to visit the DOTS centre every week, both in cities and rural areas,” said professor Rohit Srivastava, principal investigator and head of the NanoBios Lab, IITB.
The project received a grant of $1,00,000 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last month.
Under the RNTCP, there were 30, 828 cases of TB in Mumbai last year and 8,155 from January to March this year. In India, an estimated two million develop TB annually with around 3, 30,000 deaths, according to World Health Organisation.
According to the team, drug delivery through TB nanodots will reach the blood stream directly and bypass the liver thereby reducing side effects like liver toxicity or nausea unlike the current TB treatment.
“Nanotechnology for drug delivery is promising and a viable option. However, it is at a very nascent stage and too early to tell whether it will work at the clinical stage,” said Dr Om Srivastava, infectious disease specialist, Jaslok Hospital.