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A particularly promising idea to treat atherosclerosis is the use of nanoparticles as cargo vehicles for targeted delivery of anti-inflammatory agents. We aim to understand interactions of nanoparticles with cellular surfaces, and how flow modulates these interactions.
Conceptual sketch of vascular nanoparticle delivery to endothelial cells.
With the advent of nanotechnology, there is great interest in nano-scale biomedical systems. In the field of atherosclerosis, a particularly promising idea is the use of nanoparticles as cargo vehicles for targeted delivery of anti-inflammatory agents. Such a system requires the following capabilities: 1) delivering blood-borne nanoparticles to specific arterial sites where atherosclerotic lesions are present (determined by endovascular imaging), 2) optimizing nanoparticle surface conditions to achieve efficient binding to the endothelial cell surface within the diseased regions, and 3) depositing the drug cargo at sufficient concentrations and with sufficient specificity to obtain the desired therapeutic effect. Addressing these issues for the specific case of vascular endothelial cells will provide a basis for novel nanoparticle-based drug targeting strategies for atherosclerosis. A critical component in the development of an effective nanoparticle-based endovascular drug delivery system is the interaction between particles and the endothelial cell surface. By combining experiments, computations, and theoretical modeling, we aim to understand interactions of nanoparticles with cellular surfaces, and how flow modulates these interactions.