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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Bioengineering Researcher Receives Scientist Development Award

July 13, 2007

The American Heart Association has presented University of Texas at Arlington Assistant Professor of Bioengineering Kytai Nguyen with its Scientist Development Award, which is given to promising young investigators. As part of the award, Dr. Nguyen will receive a four-year, $260,000 grant to develop novel, platelet-mimicking nanoparticles that can carry drugs to injured vessel walls after cardiovascular interventions such as angioplasty.

Scientist Development Awards are very competitive; less than 25% of submissions are accepted for funding and can have no scientific overlap with other funded work. This funded project, titled “Shear-regulated uptakes of nanoparticles by endothelial cells,” will study the use of glycoprotein Ib-conjugated nanoparticles as a model of platelet-mimicking nanoparticles to effectively deliver therapeutic agents to treat injured arterial sites.

Cardiovascular interventions often injure the vessel wall, leading to the development of pathological conditions such as inflammation and restenosis - the closing or narrowing of an artery that was previously opened by a cardiac procedure. Drug-loaded nanoparticles can be delivered and bound to the injured areas to release drugs for treatment, but this action is less effective when these nanoparticles undergo shear stress conditions. Platelet cells (a type of blood cells) normally bind to the injured arterial wall strongly through their glycoprotein Ib, especially under high blood flow conditions. By mimicking platelet binding properties, drug-loaded nanoparticles can be delivered to injured arteries effectively.

Dr. Nguyen, using the Scientist Development Award, aims to develop platelet-mimicking nanoparticles, investigate the targeting activity and effectiveness of these nanoparticles in vitro, and evaluate the efficacy of these nanoparticles using balloon-injured arteries in rat models.

The development of these nanoparticles is a unique strategy to rapidly target and deliver therapeutic agents to damaged endothelial cells and subendothelium locally, despite the shear influence, for more effective therapies to treat cardiovascular and other diseases.