Design of Drug Delivery Systems for Nanomedicine

Design of Drug Delivery Systems for Nanomedicine

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

  • Targeted drug delivery for cardiovascular diseases
  • Innovative tools to cure cancers
  • The development of gene/protein delivery for treating diabetes
  • Design of novel drugs and delivery systems for Alzheimer’s diesease

Targeted Drug Delivery for Cardiovascular Diseases


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.

Related Articles

  • Sungmun Lee* (Corresponding Author), “Monocytes: a novel drug delivery system targeting atherosclerosis”, Journal of Drug Targeting, 22(2), 138-145 (2014)

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.

Related Articles

  • Sungmun Lee* (Corresponding Author), Leena Al-Kaabi, Aurélie Mawart, Herbert Jelinek, Kinda Khalaf, Ahsan Khandoker, and Habiba Alsafar, “Ultrasound-Mediated Drug Delivery with Gas Bubbles Generated by Chemical Reaction”, Journal of Drug Targeting, 20(2), 172-181 (2018)
  • Nahla Rizk, Nicolas Christoforou, Sungmun Lee* (Corresponding Author), “Optimization of anti-cancer drugs and a targeting molecule on multifunctional gold nanoparticles”, 27(18), 185704, (2016)

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.

Related Articles

  • Sungmun Lee* (Corresponding Author), Yeu-Chun Kim, and Ji-Ho Park, “Zein-alginate based oral drug delivery systems: protection and release of therapeutic proteins”, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 515, 300-306, (2016)
  • Sungmun Lee* (Corresponding Author), Noaf Alwahab, and Zainab Moazzam, “Zein-based oral drug delivery system targeting activated macrophages”, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 454(1), 388-393 (2013)

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.


Related Articles

  • Wei Qi, Aming Zhang, Dhara Patel, Sungmun Lee, Jamie Harrington, Liming Zhao, David Schaefer, Theresa A. Good, and Erik J. Fernandez, “Simultaneous monitoring of peptide aggregate distributions, structure, and kinetics using amide hydrogen exchange.” Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 100(6), 1214-1227 (2008)
  • Sungmun Lee, Erik Fernandez and Theresa Good, “Role of aggregation conditions in structure, stability and toxicity of intermediates in the Aβ fibril formation pathway,  Protein Science, 16(4), 723-732 (2007)
  • Sungmun Lee, Kenneth Carson, Allison Rice-Ficht, and Theresa Good, “Small heat shock proteins differentially affect Aβ aggregation and toxicity”, Biophysical and Biochemical Research Communications, 347(2), 527-533 (2006)
  • Sungmun Lee, Kenneth Carson, Allison Rice-Ficht, and Theresa Good, “Hsp20, a novel α-crystallin, prevents Aβ fibril formation and toxicity”, Protein Science, 14(3), 593-601 (2005)


  • Sarah Qassem Azzam (Msc by Research), Khalifa University
  • Kenana Muaiad Al Adem (Ph.D.), Khalifa University


Khalifa University Internal Fund Level 2 (KUIRFL2) 2017-2018. PI: Sung Mun Lee

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