A UT Arlington bioengineer has received a four-year, $1.4 million National Institutes of Health grant to create a nanoparticle system to shore up arterial walls following angioplasty and stenting procedures to treat coronary arterial disease.
Kytai Nguyen, a UT Arlington associate professor of bioengineering, said the research looks to improve an established procedure like angioplasty, which opens arteries and blood vessels that are blocked.
Kytai Nguyen, UT Arlington bioengineering associate professor
“We have discovered a way to use
nanoparticles to help the arteries heal themselves more effectively following
one of the most common surgical procedures,” said Nguyen, who joined UT
Arlington in 2005. “This process promises to reduce complications that can
occur in the arteries following surgery and may extend opportunities for
patients to live longer, healthier lives.”
The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention reported that nearly 1 million people in the United States have
angioplasty or stent procedures done annually.
Khosrow Behbehani, dean of the College of Engineering, said Dr.
Nguyen is specializing in developing innovative techniques for drug delivery
which critical to advancing health care.
“Earning a National Institutes of Health
grant puts Dr. Nguyen in very exclusive company,” Behbehani said. The NIH reported
that only 16.8 percent of its nearly 50,000 applications in 2013 were awarded
grants. “Receiving this grant reflects the cutting-edge research that Dr. Nguyen is conducting. Her investigation
will help improve the efficacy of stents in treating cardiovascular anomalies.”
Following the angioplasty or stent,
surgeons would insert the nanoparticles at the affected site, and the nanoparticles
would attach themselves to the arterial wall. The nanoparticles would be
programmed to recruit stem cells, which would regenerate the arterial wall’s
weakened cells naturally, Nguyen said.
Once cell regeneration is well under
way, the nanoparticles will dissipate, she said.
The process addresses concerns that
arise when a person’s underlying smooth muscle cells migrate to the weakened
arterial walls and the blood cells attack this damaged site.
“Your body naturally will send smooth
muscle cells to the weakened walls,” Nguyen said. “That creates a whole host of
problems the body doesn’t need. It could cause re-narrowing of an artery,
leading to a heart attack.”
Liping Tang, bioengineering professor
and interim chair of the Bioengineering
Department, said Nguyen’s work makes the surgery safer for the patient.
“Using nanotechnology to solve the
problem before it even occurs is ingenious,” Tang said.
Nguyen previously received an American
Heart Association grant to study how
physical and biological factors influence the proliferation of vascular smooth
muscle cells, a condition that can lead to heart disease. She recently received another American Heart
Association grant to develop advanced particle scaffolds for treatments of
peripheral arterial disease.
also has teamed with a UT Southwestern colleague to develop a nanoparticle
drug delivery system that will help stimulate lung growth and function after
partial lung removal or destructive lung disease.
Her co-principal investigator in this
funded NIH research is Jian Yang, an associate professor of bioengineering at
Penn State University and former UT Arlington bioengineering associate
professor. Her other collaborators are Tang and Subhash Banerjee, an associate
professor of medicine and co-director of the Cardiac Catheterization
Laboratories at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and VA North Texas
Health Care System at Dallas.
About UT Arlington
The University of
Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution and the second
largest institution in The University of Texas System. Total research
expenditures reached almost $78 million last year. UT Arlington ranks fifth in
the nation for undergraduate diversity and was ranked as the seventh
fastest-growing public research university by The Chronicle of Higher Education
in 2013. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.