Researches Regenerative Medicine & Gene Therapy Research Group

Regenerative Medicine & Gene Therapy Research Group


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We are in the process of establishing a Regenerative Medicine & Gene Therapy (RM&GT) laboratory at ASAB, NUST. RM and GT are interdisciplinary fields with great impact potential.

Regenerative medicine (RM) is a specialized multidisciplinary field in medical science and research. RM may be defined as the application of scientific principles at cellular and biochemical level to repair, restore, supplement and/or replace the natural function of biological system. One of the techniques that is very much sought after is to harbor stem cells (SCs), and utilize them for regeneration of cells, tissues, and so much so the whole organ.

Gene therapy (GT) targets a disease at its genetic level. These targets can be any genetic manipulation or editing which may involve inserting new genes, replacing them or inhibiting the existing genes. It also works on utilizing different genetic materials to develop expression cassettes for optimum and, ideally, cell-specific gene expression. Furthermore, different viral and non-viral methods are employed for the delivery of exogenous materials like SCs, drugs, and genetic material to target cells and tissues.

We have two foreign-qualified faculty members leading RM&GT laboratory at ASAB: Dr. Dilawar Khan is an Assistant Professor who has obtained his PhD from Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany. His PhD research and a post-doc experience were in stem cells and regenerative medicine in cancer cells. Dr. Salik Javed Kakar is also working as an Assistant Professor. He is a MBBS doctor and obtained his MSc from the University of Leicester, UK, and PhD from the University of Manchester, UK. His PhD research and two post-doc experiences were in viral as well as non-viral gene therapies in cardiovascular diseases.

Group Members:

  • Dr.  Salik Kakar (salik.kakar@asab.nust.edu.pk)
  • Dr. Dilawar Khan (dkhan@asab.nust.edu.pk)

DETAILS OF GROUP MEMBERS:

Dr. Salik Javed Kakar (Regenerative Medicine & Gene Therapy Research Group)

Dr. Kakar’s research group is currently working on leukemia. The project aims at finding effectiveness of metal-based compounds in the disease, finding their target binding sites and downstream pathways, and eventually, finding gene targets for the treatment of leukemia.

Focus of the Laboratory:

  • Development of expression cassette
  • Drug and genetic material delivery system
  • Gene editing system like CRISPR

Laboratory Members:

PhD Student:

  • Ms. Sujhla Hamid

MS Student:

  • Ms. Kainaat Mumtaz
  • Ms. Asma Talib Qureshi
  • Mr. Ali Nadeem Bhatti

BS Student:

  • Mr. Muhammad Ethisham ul Haq
  • Ms. Misha Fatima
  • Mr. Muhammad Hamza Afzal
  • Ms. Noor Zainab

Current Project:

  • Ligand-protein targeting in AML and CML cell lines.

Dr. Dilawar Khan  (Regenerative Medicine & Gene Therapy Research Group)

Research in the Dr. Khan group is centered on the two major clinical challenges in the treatment of cancer: the eradication of cancer stem cells (CSCs) and adaptive resistance to current therapeutics. Tumors contain immature cells so called cancer stem cells which are capable of limitless self-renewal and may be responsible for tumor progression, maintenance and relapse after treatment resistance. These cancer stem cells must be ultimately eradicated with novel therapeutic strategies for long-lasting cancer treatment. Beside CSCs, resistance to therapy including potent and selective targeted agents remains the major clinical challenge in various cancers. By using a variety of cellular, biochemical and genetic approaches, we are interested in basic research into the molecular and cellular biology of cancer with special emphasis in identifying and targeting the disease-promoting signaling pathways that control the development of CSCs and the resistance they provide to current therapeutics. Our aim is to develop/train the next generation world class researchers in the field of cancer biology and link laboratory to the clinic, to introduce new approaches to screening, prevention and treatment of cancer.

Focus of the Laboratory:

  • Biology of Cancer Stem Cells
  • Oncogenic Signal Transduction
  • Cancer Drugs Discovery
  • Stem cells in Regenerative Medicine

Laboratory Members

MS Student:

  1. Mariam Fatima

BS Students:

  1. Najia Tahir
  2. Maria Sharif
  3. Heshma Ejaz
  4. Sundus Fahim

Current Project:

Molecular targeting of cancer stem cells in Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Research Funding:

Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC).


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