ILLUSTRATION BY STEPHEN DURKE

Nanoparticle Drug Delivery, 2035

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Regrowing lungs isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Bioengineering Associate Professor Kytai Nguyen has teamed with Connie Hsia, internal medicine professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, on a nanoparticle drug-delivery system designed to spur lung growth and function after partial lung removal or destructive lung disease.

The treatment introduces drugs through inhaled nanoparticles that stimulate lung growth and remodeling,” says Dr. Nguyen, who holds a joint appointment with UT Southwestern. “We are synthesizing biocompatible, biodegradable polymers that will encapsulate, or load, the drugs and release them where needed.”

The polymer that houses the drugs will degrade with time, releasing the drugs within the lung. Once the drugs are delivered via nanoparticles, the researchers can measure therapeutic response using noninvasive imaging, physiological testing, and detailed structural analysis. Nguyen and Hsia hope their work will lead to better quality of life for people who have had part of their lungs removed.

This research is important because currently there is no definitive cure for most destructive lung diseases except transplantation,” Dr. Hsia says. “We have shown that partial lung removal may trigger regrowth of the remaining lung to compensate for the loss.”

Nguyen is working on the drug-delivery portion of the project, which is funded through 2016 by a $3.4 million National Institutes of Health grant.

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2 Responses to Nanoparticle Drug Delivery, 2035

  1. Sameer Rahate

    Hello, Thanks for this article. My Mom has ‘Bronchiectasis’/ psystic fibrosis of the lungs, and her breathing capacity is only 27%. She is 74 years old and has been diagnosed with ‘Cor Pulmonale’ too. Is there anyway her damaged lung can be repaired or new one grown back as written in the article? May I know if I can write to Dr. Nguyen and/or to Dr. Connie Hsia ? I would like to know when will this drug/therapy will be introduced in the market? I am very concerned about my Mom’s health and would like to know more about this article and how can I contact the doctor’s? Thanks. sincerely Sameer Rahate

  2. Sophia Taylor

    This could be an amazing medical breakthrough. Will the study include study participants? If so I know someone who may be interested in volunteering. He lost a lung to cancer.

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