The primary focus of our research group will be the prevention of inflammatory diseases including cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and diabetes, beginning with a diagnosis through drug delivery.
In order to diagnose and cure these diseases effectively, new and innovative solutions are required to reduce or abrogate these risk factors.
The drug delivery vehicles will be applied to
In atherosclerosis, activated endothelial cells (EC) generate more reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inflammatory mediators that recruit monocytes to the vessel wall.
Novel monocyte-based drug delivery systems encapsulating either catalase or tempol/tempo will scavenge ROS efficiently due to its target specificity to damaged EC.
Innovative Tools to Cure Cancers
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy using drugs and ionizing radiation can destroy cancer cells non-invasively; however, they also have a negative effect on normal cells. The goal of the cancer treatment is to remove cancer completely without any damage to the rest of the body. One solution for cancer therapy is multifunctional gold nanoparticles coated with anticancer drugs and targeting molecules that treat cancers safely and efficiently.
Development of Gene/Protein Delivery for Treating Diabetes
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an important role in the pathogenesis of age-related diseases such as diabetes. ROS such as hydrogen peroxide and superoxide are overproduced by activated macrophages. As scavengers of ROS, enzymatic proteins such as catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) have a great therapeutic potential; however, in vivo application is limited especially when they are orally administered. Although, the oral route is the most convenient for drug administration, therapeutic proteins are easily degraded in vivo by the harsh conditions of gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Zein nanoparticles can protect therapeutic proteins, catalase and SOD, from the harsh conditions of GI tract. Folate-conjugated catalase or SOD in zein nanoparticles can target the activated macrophages and scavenge the ROS generated by macrophages in vitro.
Design of Novel Drugs and Delivery Systems for Alzheimer's Diesease
Aggregation or fibril formation of pathogenic proteins causes many different types of diseases. For example, aggregation of β-amyloid, α-synuclein, and tau proteins induces Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Creutzfeldt Jacob disease respectively. Several studies show that pathogenic proteins form fibrils via a conformational transition from α-helix/random coil to β-sheet. Although the mechanism of aggregation is still under investigation, prevention of protein aggregation will be beneficial to slow down the diseases.
Khalifa University Internal Fund Level 2 (KUIRFL2) 2017-2018. PI: Sung Mun Lee