I work at the interface of chemistry, biomaterials and nanomedicine to develop novel medical interventions and fulfill current clinical unmet needs. My research focuses on taking advantage of DNA nanotechnology, bio-orothogonal chemistry and biomaterials to develop new methods for drug delivery and immunotherapy.
Systemic drug toxicity is a serious problem for many current clinical interventions, including in cancer, arrhythmia, inflammatory and eye disease. Local drug-delivering devices confer a substantial reduction in toxicity and thus have significant proven clinical utility, including prevention of restenosis, cancer treatment and enhanced wound healing. However, existing drug-delivering systems have a finite supply of drug. For many therapeutic applications, an invasive procedure is needed to inject or implant a drug-eluting device, and there are currently no methods to refill or replace the drug once the payload is exhausted without another invasive procedure. Inspired by the ability of nanotherapeutics to target specific tissues, I developed a drug delivery system in which blood-borne drug payloads are modified to home to and refill hydrogel drug delivery devices. This proposal outlines a new paradigm for nanotherapeutic drug delivery and describes applications in refilling drug depots in cancer therapy and other diseases. Long-term, local drug delivery enabled by noninvasive refilling of locally-implanted devices could revolutionize many clinical areas.