Medical Sciences

Medical Sciences Experts

Zacharias Suntres

Medical Sciences
Northern Ontario school of Medicine


1985 BSC (Hon) – Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Western Ontario.  1990 Ph.D - Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Western Ontario.  1990-1992 NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellow: Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine.  1992-2004 Defence Scientist-Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine. 

Research Interest

Our research interests focus on the design, development, and characterization of nanoscale drug delivery devices, namely liposomes.   We have been investigating the benefits of liposomes as drug delivery systems in several pathological disorders.  Liposomes are multifunctional, targeted devices capable of bypassing biological barriers to deliver multiple therapeutic agents at high local concentrations, and with physiologically appropriate timing, directly to tissues of interest.  Several studies have shown that the liposomal formulations overcome deficiencies of free drug treatment and improve clinical outcomes.  So far, we have developed liposomal formulations containing antioxidants (N-acetylcysteine, alpha-tocopherol, and/or gamma-tocopherol, lipoic acid), anti-inflammatories (dexamethasone) and antimicrobials (polymyxin B) and these have been used successfully in the prophylaxis and treatment of organ and tissue injuries induced following exposure to infections (P. aeruginosa, E. coli), toxins (lipopolysaccharides, ricin), and herbicides/chemotherapeutic drugs (paraquat, phorbol myristate acetate, bleomycin).    Future research initiatives in our laboratory will focus on the use of liposomal technology for the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents.  For example, paclitaxel is one of the most effective antineoplastic drugs used against a wide spectrum of cancers, especially ovarian, breast, colon, and small and nonsmall lung cancers. Because of poor aqueous solubility, paclitaxel is dissolved for clinical use in dehydrated ethanol and polyethoxylated castor oil (Cremophor EL) which is known to cause toxic effects such as life-threatening anaphylaxis.  It is proposed that delivery of paclitaxel as a liposomal formulation will lower the systemic toxicity of the drug and would permit much more flexibility for treatment regimens such that smaller, more effective doses may be employed. 

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