Date(s) - 04/14/2014
Drug delivery research often means a battle with biological environment that interferes with the intended functions of drug carriers. Nanoparticles (NPs) have been considered a promising tool to deliver drug in a target specific manner, but several environmental challenges compromise the potential. For example, inhaled NP gene carriers have the potential to deliver the corrective genes to target cells in the lung, but they encounter tenacious sputum layer in the airways that prevent their penetration. Prolonged circulation is a critical requirement for systemic NP delivery, but many NPs undergo destabilization or aggregation upon the exposure to blood components, losing the ability to reach target tissues in intact forms. Even if some NPs manage to reach targets, most NPs do not further advance into tissues due to the stromal barriers. We develop various strategies to minimize the undesirable interactions between NPs and blood/tissue components without compromising their ability to deliver drug to target tissues. These efforts include encapsulating NPs in osmotically active microparticles, which change sputum environment to facilitate trans-sputum NP transport, and modifying NP surfaces with pH- or enzyme-sensitive polymers to allow for conditional activation of NPs in target tissues. In addition to the carrier engineering, we explore anti-stromal effects of focal irradiation and unique tissue-biomaterial interactions to promote intrastromal transport of NPs in target tissues.
Dr. Yoon Yeo is an Associate Professor of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy at the College of Pharmacy with a join appointment in Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States. She earned her B.S. in Pharmacy and M.S. in Microbial Chemistry at Seoul National University, and Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics at Purdue. She received post-doctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and returned to Purdue to join the faculty. Her research focuses on nanoparticle surface engineering for drug delivery to solid tumors, inhalable drug/gene delivery for cystic fibrosis therapy, and functional biomaterials based on carbohydrates. Dr. Yeo has published 63 peer-reviewed papers and 8 book chapters, and received the NSF CAREER award, New Investigator Awards from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, and American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.