Joint Centers of Excellence Program

Light-Responsive Nano-Based Delivery Systems of Biological and Chemical Therapeutics for Retinopathy

Given the enormous promise of smart materials to revolutionize biological research and medicine, we are working to expand the toolkit of materials that degrade in response to specific stimuli. We aim to create polymers that degrade specifically upon exposure to disease-characteristic biochemical environments, such as the acidic pH of tumors or the increased reactive oxygen species concentrations of inflammation, and to light, as this researcher- or clinician-controlled stimulus enables fine spatiotemporal control. We have introduced numerous novel polymers with unprecedented sensitivity and with novel mechanisms of degradation enabling rapid response. We are developing particles with tunable release rates to deliver multiple growth factors at varying time points to to treat multiple forms of retinal degeneration.