Drug Delivery Research Gets $600,000 NSF Grant

Colorful Protein NanoclustersProfessors Tom Truskett, Keith Johnston and Jennifer Maynard have been awarded a 5-year $600,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to continue research to develop high-dosage, injectable protein-based therapeutics for at-home treatment of diseases ranging from arthritis to cancer.

The team’s discovery of a new highly concentrated form of proteins – clusters of individual protein molecules – could transform how we fight diseases.

“Proteins inside the crowded, cell-like environment of the nanoclusters do not appear to lose their biological function from dangerous aggregates, which may allow high doses to be delivered to patients in a single injection,” said Truskett, the project’s principal investigator.

The grant is one of forty awarded this year by NSF’s new INSPIRE program, which addresses some of today’s most complicated and pressing scientific problems through interdisciplinary research.

The team initiated this research in 2004 and will continue to explore the science behind this promising formulation strategy for subcutaneous injection in which protein molecules self-assemble into nanometer-sized clusters small enough to pass through a needle.

Three patent applications on the team’s related work have been filed through the university’s Office of Technology Commercialization.

Read the team’s research publication in the journal ACS Nano or the related article: Improving Drug Delivery.



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