Controlled release of osteogenic factors for bone induction

Spinal fusion is one of the most common surgeries performed in the neck or back and, along with large segmental defects, remains one of the toughest bone-healing applications. The procedure’s frequency has significantly increased over the last 15 years, concurrent with the increasing popularity and use of osteobiologics to improve fusion. Accelerated bone formation and enhanced fracture healing provide valuable treatment methods as they can reduce healing time, increase the quality of bone generated, and improve patient outcomes. This project entails the design of a spinal fusion implant permitting sustained release of osteogenic growth peptide (OGP) in an established large animal (rabbit) model.

image of spine
diagram of nanoparticles use in radiotherapy

Gold nanoparticle-enhanced radiotherapy for NSCLC

While considerable improvements have been made to increase the precision and the accuracy of radiation delivery, radiotherapy often fails to fully eradicate tumors due to dose limitations and radiation resistance. High concentrations of metal nanoparticles have been proposed to augment tumor treatment by radiative enhancement effects. We are investigating if gold nanoparticles (GNPs) at clinically-feasible concentrations can act as effective radiosensitizers in a murine Lewis Lung carcinoma (LLC) model of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Experiments have also been initiated in a chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) model, a highly vascularized model that achieves rapid cell grafting and tumor formation within a few days. Our compelling results highlight the potential of GNP at clinically-feasible concentrations as effective radiosensitizers to enhance radiotherapy of solid tumors.

Constant, sustained drug delivery for obesity, T2D, & metabolic syndrome (NMD)

Our novel nanochannel membrane device (NMD) allows for sustained, low-dose and constant administration of the thyroid receptor-β (TRβ)-selective agonist GC-1 (sobetirome). Steady GC-1 administration from the NMD, consisting of an implantable nanochannel membrane, as an alternative to conventional daily administration, which is subject to compliance issues in clinical settings. We have published on this project in a DIO mouse model (Int. J. Obes.), healthy rats (Nanomedicine Nanotechnol. Biol. Med.), and in a spontaneously obese non-human primate (Biomed. Microdevices). Sustained low-dose delivery of GC-1 from our minimally invasive subcutaneous implant provides a valuable approach to induce weight loss and manage obesity and comorbidities, including type 2 diabetes.

diagram of Constant, sustained drug delivery for obesity
Controlled intrapericardial delivery of prostaglandin formulations for heart failure

Controlled intrapericardial delivery of prostaglandin formulations for heart failure (HeartPAS)

Currently, in the majority of cardiac drug delivery systems, only a small fraction of the therapeutic agents reach and remain in the heart for an extended period of time because of coronary washout. Our innovation lies in the intrapericardial (IPC) delivery of poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles (PLGA-NPs) encapsulated with prostaglandin analogs. Prostaglandins stimulate the production of endogenous hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) via the cAMP pathway. HGF is cardioprotective and increased levels in patients with acute myocardial infarction have improved left ventricular function. We intend to utilize the HeartPAS for local IPC delivery of drug eluting PLGA-NPs. Our engineered nanoparticles and fabricated delivery system allow for controlled, sustained, and local targeted delivery of a safe drug with both regenerative and protective benefits.