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Engineering and Technology

BMCE Faculty Candidate: Engineering Stimuli-Responsive Nanoparticles – Applications in Cancer Therapy and Prenatal Medicine

January 15, 2020 at 9:30am10:30am EST

Bowne Hall, 414

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Rachel Riley, Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania, is a candidate for a faculty position in the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, part of the cluster hiring initiative in the BioInspired Institute.

Abstract: Nanoparticle platforms enable the delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids, such as small interfering RNA or messenger RNA, to tissues and cells for gene therapy to treat diseases. However, the use of these technologies requires overcoming delivery barriers including cell- and tissue-specificity, endosomal escape from intracellular compartments, and off-target toxicity to healthy tissues and cells. In this seminar, I will discuss how stimuli-responsive nanoparticles can be engineered to enable safe and potent nucleic acid delivery for cancer and prenatal medicine applications. I will first discuss how the unique light absorption and surface chemistry of nanoshells, comprised of silica cores and thin gold shells, can be exploited for triggered cancer therapy. Nanoshells coated with Frizzled7 antibodies were used to actively target triple-negative breast cancer cells and inhibit Wnt signaling, which is a driving force behind TNBC progression and metastasis. Further, I will demonstrate how nanoshells coated with small interfering RNA enable triggered gene regulation in response to laser light by releasing the nucleic acids on demand. Lastly, I will present my recent work engineering pH-responsive lipid nanoparticles for mRNA delivery to fetuses in utero. This technology provides the first ionizable lipid platforms for fetal delivery in mice, and may ultimately be applicable for treating prenatal genetic diseases. Thus, the drug delivery tools developed through this research provide stimuli-responsive platforms for nucleic acid delivery with applications in both cancer therapy and prenatal medicine.

This event was first published on January 9, 2020 and last updated on January 10, 2020.

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