Professor Chris Porter
Professor Chris Porter works at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Monash University and is Associate Dean of Research.
He specalises in drug absorption and drug delivery, where he has seen a marked improvement due to advances in nanotechnology. His current interests lie in the use of nanoemulsions to improve drug absorption and dendrimer-based polymeric drug delivery systems. Today there is a high expectation in the area of Pharamceutical Sciences to produce a new ‘wonder drug’. Unfortunately, many new drug discoveries do not become effective medicines in clinical trials. The high failure rate is often due to problems with the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of drug molecules. Professor Porter is passionate about finding solutions to these problems.
“In simple terms (these systems) work by mimicking the natural process of fat absorption in the body. As we are all too aware the intestine can absorb very large quantities of dietary fats. Our challenge is to trick the body into utilising this pathway to absorb very poorly water soluble drugs.”
Professor Porter’s other particular area of interest is in the use of dendrimer-based polymeric drug delivery systems, specifically in relation to the delivery to tumours. A dendrimer is a large star-shaped polymer to which drugs and other functional groups can be attached (see dendrimer schematic below).
Professor Porter has made use of the ARC linkage programme to collaborate with the Melbourne based biotechnology company Starpharma. Together they have explored the possible use of dendrimers in drug delivery. This has shown that drug carriers only two to four nanometres can be produced which are both biodegradable and bioresorbable. Further research indicates that it may be possible for these nanoparticulate systems to concentrate at the site of the tumour.
His nanoemulsion work at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences has seen collaboration with Professors Bill Charman and Colin Pouton, Dr Ben Boyd and Dr Natalie Trevaskis. Internationally, Professor Porter draws on the industrial expertise of scientists at Pfizer in the US, Organon in Holland, GSK in the UK and Novartis in Switzerland.
The Dendrimer group includes Dr Ben Boyd and Dr Lisa Kaminskas at Monash and the team at Starpharma in Melbourne – a world leader in the development of dendrimer nanotechnology products for pharmaceutical, life-science and other applications. This is headed by their Vice President of Research, Dr David Owen and Research Manager Dr Brian Kelly.
Professor Porter’s wider interests include developing a better understanding of drug transport pathways, specifically in the delivery of drugs directly to the lymphatic system. He hopes that his specific research in nanotechnology will lead to new and improved drugs in the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology industries and advances in proprietary ‘know how’. In a wider context the research community will benefit form the increased understanding and application of nanotechnology in drug delivery.
Porter, C.J.H, Trevaskis, N.L., Charman, W.N. (2007) Lipids and lipid-based formulations: optimising the oral delivery of lipophilic drugs. Nat. Rev. Drug Discov 6, 231-248.
Boyd, B.J., Kaminskas, L.M., Karellas, P., Krippner, G., Lessene, R., Porter, C.J.H. (2006) Cationic poly-l-lysine dendrimers: pharmacokinetics, biodistribution and evidence for metabolism and bioresorption after intravenous administration to rats. Mol. Pharmaceutics 3, 614-627.
Cuiné, J.F., Charman, W.N., Pouton, C.W., Edwards, G.A., Benameur, H., Porter, C.J.H. (2008) Evaluation of the impact of surfactant digestion on the bioavailability of danazol after oral administration of lipidic self-emulsifying formulations to dogs. J. Pharm Sci 97, 993-1010.