Nanomaterials that provide imaging during drug delivery – News Center


Friday, June 24, 2022 • Herbalism:

A University of Texas at Arlington bioengineer is leading a project that will develop biodegradable nanomaterials that will take pictures and deliver drugs to fight peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

Kytai Nguyen

Kytai Nguyen, a professor of bioengineering at UT Arlington, is the principal investigator of the $2.1 million four-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant. She is collaborating with Jian Yang, professor of bioengineering at Penn State University and former UTA faculty member, and Ralph Mason, professor of radiology at UT Southwestern.

“What’s important about this project is that the technology has fluorescence and ultrasound imaging capabilities, which will provide patients and doctors with more detailed information,” Nguyen said. “It also gives patients more targeted drugs, making them more effective.”

PAD, better known as atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, is a common condition seen in older people. It affects more than 200 million people worldwide and is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality.

The research aims to develop novel biodegradable nanoparticles to provide therapeutic agents that specifically protect cells under stress conditions, facilitate blood vessel formation under hypoxia, and enable non-invasive multimodal imaging methods.

One of the impacts of the research is to use these new nanoparticle platforms to locally deliver any treatment, effectively treat the disease and monitor the treatment non-invasively by imaging. The overall goal is to reduce complications and improve quality of life for patients with PAD, Nguyen said.

Michael Cho, chair of the bioengineering department at UT Arlington, said Nguyen’s innovative research could greatly help those living with PAD.

“This breakthrough technology has a chance to change our protocols on how to treat atherosclerosis,” Cho said. “When you’re able to target localized lesions for treatment, it’s so much better for patients and much less invasive than the current treatment.”

Nguyen, who has worked at UT Arlington since 2005, received grants from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas in 2010, 2016, and 2021. She has also received funding from the NIH, National Science Foundation, American Heart Association and US Departments of Education. and Defense, among others.

She is a Senior Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Fellow of the UTA Academy of Distinguished Scholars, Fellow of the American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering, and Fellow of the American Heart Association.

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