Nanoparticle drug delivery system can deliver a combination of different drugs

Dr. Zhenjia Wang has spent much of his working career exploring life forms too small to see with a normal microscope. In his current research, he uses multicolor fluorescent microscopy to map the biological trafficking of specific nanoparticles, and the powerful microscope, purchased in part with funds provided by the Health Sciences and Services Authority of Spokane, allows him to label multiple, distinct targets of interest in a single biological sample.

Wang is working toward designing and creating ways to deliver therapeutic drugs to prevent and treat cardiovascular inflammatory diseases. “Nanoparticles are valued for their potential to differentiate cells and tissues,” Wang said. “They release drugs in a controlled manner and efficiently deliver a combination of different drugs.”

Much of his work of late has been focused on getting the nanoparticles across the semi-permeable cell barrier that exists between the blood and diseased tissue in the lungs. He believes he has discovered what size nanoparticle will work, but another issue then is finding the exact “address” in the lung he wants to target so the nanoparticles are not swept away by the liver.

Wang was the lead author on a research paper published on the subject in March 2014 in the journalNature Nanotechnology. Co-authors were three research colleagues from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, where Wang spent the last six years before joining the College of Pharmacy in Spokane as an assistant professor in January 2014.

Wang’s research is funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, an agency of the National Institutes of Health