nanoNanoparticles are spherical structures that can be made with numerous fabrication techniques. Nanoparticles can be made spanning a wide range of diameters, typically ranging from 100 nm – 1000 nm, smaller than the average cell. A wide range of small molecules can be loaded inside nanoparticles, including proteins, small molecule drugs, and even nucleic acids. Delivering these molecules inside nanoparticles has many advantages, including (1) sustained release of the cargo over hours to days, reducing side effects and prolonging the therapeutic window, (2) protection of the cargo from degradation and elimination, improving its potency and efficacy, and (3) specific targeting, which can also reduce side effects. At the Center for Nanomedicine at Wilmer, we design nanoparticles that can more effectively deliver their cargo to mucosal surfaces, to potentially improve therapeutic and prophylactic treatments for diseases and conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), various cancers of the airways and reproductive tracts, sexually transmitted infections, various eye diseases, and others. In addition, we are developing nanoparticles that can also more effectively penetrate tissues, including soft tissues and solid tumors.
Selected Publications

  • EA Nance, GF Woodworth, KA Sailor, T-Y Shih, Q Xu, G Swaminathan, D Xiang, C Eberhardt, and J Hanes (2012). A dense polyethylene glycol coating improves penetration of large polymeric nanoparticles within brain tissue. Science Translational Medicine, 4(149), p. 149ra119.
  • LM Ensign, BC Tang, Y-Y Wang, TA Tse, T Hoen, R Cone, and J Hanes (2012). Mucus-penetrating nanoparticles for vaginal drug delivery protect against herpes simplex virus. Science Translational Medicine, 4(138), p. 138ra79.

dendrimerDendrimers are tree-like nanostructured polymers, synthesized with a well-defined size. Even though there are a wide range of dendrimers with differing building blocks,  PAMAM dendrimers are the most widely studied dendrimers, and can be model systems for understanding interactions between nanoscale materials and tissues. At the Center for Nanomedicine at Wilmer, our goal is to develop translational applications for dendrimer-based drug delivery approaches. Our research focuses on three aspects, to build tailored dendrimer nanodevices for specific clinical applications: (1) understanding the intrinsic biodistribution properties of dendrimers, to learn about the cells types and disease processes that are natural targets for dendrimers; (2) understanding and tailoring drug release profiles from dendrimer-drug nanodevices, to suit specific applications; (3) develop platform technologies focused on neuroinflammatory disorders such as retinal degeneration, cerebral palsy, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Selected Publications

  • S Kannan, H Dai, RS Navath, B Balakrishnan, A Jyoti, J Janisse, R Romero, RM Kannan (2012). ‘Dendrimer-based postnatal therapy for neuroinflammation and cerebral palsy in a rabbit model’. Science Translational Medicine, 4(130), p. 130ra46. Highlighted in Nature, Science, Nature Review Drug Discovery, C & EN. Faculty of 1000 selection.
  • R Iezzi, B Raja Guru, I Glybina, M Mishra, A Kennedy, RM Kannan (2012). ‘Dendrimer-based targeted intravitreal therapy for sustained attenuation of neuroinflammation in retinal degeneration’. Biomaterials, 33(3), 979-988. Faculty of 1000 selection.