Funding boost for Monash MRNA Projects

Monash Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (MNHS) Dean Professor Christina Mitchell, Dr Meagan McGrath and Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Studies’ Professor Colin Pouton have received $266,000 for research into the development of a lipopeptide-based nanoparticle RNA delivery system for the treatment of muscular dystrophy or acquired musculoskeletal conditions. The mRNA Victoria Acceleration Fund is the largest dedicated mRNA research grant fund in Australia,

Professor Pouton has also received $99,000 for research being conducted with the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI)  into combining mRNA delivery with viral gene delivery to treat metabolic liver disease in infants and children using in vivo gene editing.

Joint Monash Warwick Alliance Professors Pouton & Perrier will once again collaborate on this research which seeks to improve therapeutic delivery of RNA. The project will focus on designing new delivery vectors for RNA, based on polymeric materials, in order to lower toxicity and improve stability. The project will cover polymer synthesis and characterisation, study the complexation of RNA to polymer vectors and study the delivery properties in vitro and in vivo.  The project will also bring on board an Alliance PhD student from Warwick next year, who will be working under the supervision of both professors.

The Alliance joint research collaboration with Professor Perrier, (2018 - 2020) focussed on Improving the efficacy and efficiency of cancer drug treatments. The project harnessed the world leading expertise of the University of Warwick and Monash University in materials science, chemistry, biology and pharmaceutical sciences to address a key challenge in the rapidly expanding field of nanomedicine.

Professor Perrier commented; “As one of the first joint appointees between Monash and Warwick, I had the opportunity to build a research group across both Universities, in Chemistry and the Medical School at Warwick, and in the Faculty of Pharmacy in Monash. Having research teams embedded in both institutions enables us to harness all the potential offered by both Warwick and Monash.

We have developed a number of lead candidate materials for targeted drug delivery for the treatment of cancer and antimicrobials in a very short period of time. We couldn’t have developed these systems so rapidly without the Alliance”