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Laboratory Research (continued)

Since the development of the first oral delivery systems (capsules and nano particles) for oral delivery of insulin in diabetic patients Type 1 we have concentrated our efforts in a number of other applications of oral and transmucosal delivery of therapeutic agents as follows:

  • With our group and with main funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), we have developed a new generation of oral delivery systems for delivery of calcitonin for possible treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women; this work has produced important new cellular studies as well as studies in animal delivery. US patents have been filed

  • Also with NIH funding, we have perfected the studies on oral delivery of interferon beta for treatment of multiple sclerosis. This is one of several potential methods of treatment of multiple sclerosis and is based on replacing painful and often non-compliant multiple sclerosis procedures based on intramuscular injections with oral delivery systems of predictable behavior.

  • New platforms for the oral delivery of "high isoelectric point drugs". Such drugs include a number of well-known therapeutic agents, especially Humira, to treat Crohn's disease. A US patent has been filled.

  • Development of a new technology for oral delivery of growth hormones to treat possible diseases associated with growth.

  • A pioneering new work on the development of one of the first oral delivery systems for hemophiliac factor IX, an agent whose absence from the blood is the main cause of a type of hemophilia B. A US patent has been filed. This is a major problem with treatment of hemophiliac patients and it is expected that an improved and less painful method of delivery will allow more freedom in patients' lives.

  • With the support of the National Science Foundation, Peppas and his associates developed a new generation of therapeutic formulations that can be used parenterally for the release of siRNA and microRNAs. Such systems will be valuable in treating Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and potentially even celiac disease. Three patents have been filed.

  • In 2013, it was announced that we are developing a new generation of oral delivery vaccines. This work was initiated in 2009 with a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant. We are now working with Iowa State University on improved oral vaccine systems.

  • With a National Cancer Institute (U54) NIH grant and in collaboration with the Methodist Research Institute in Houston, we worked for 6 years on oral delivery systems for chemotherapeutic agents for treatment of certain types of cancers. Similar work is now supported by the Texas4000 initiative.

The second major research area of his work is the development of new patented technologies for treatment of a number of diseases by first identifying a potential biomarker (or cause substance or analyze) that is predominantly responsible for a disease. With support from NIH and the UT-Portugal fund (administered through IC2) we have developed a series of new technologies :

  • New technologies for rapid recognition of glucose either by thin films of by biodegradable nano particles with associated delivery of insulin for possible treatment of Type 1 diabetic patients.

  • Novel diagnostic methods of recognizing cholesterol at the early stages of cholesterol accumulation with possible release of therapeutic agents.

  • New systems that can recognize angiotensin II and subsequently release beta-blockers or other agents to control blood pressure.

  • A line of US patents on preparation and use of "recognitive systems" for such applications as described above.

The impact of our work in the last six years has been significant. We have had more than 40 disclosures, provisional and regular patent applications filed in the USA. Indicative of the impact of the work is that just in the first 8 months of 2014 five US patents from his work were issued.

Functioning as a major Laboratory, the group has been recently reorganized with the establishment of the new Institute of Biomaterials, Drug Delivery and Regenerative Medicine. The new Institute has been relocated to the fifth floor of the Biomedical Engineering Building and is set on more than 3,000 sq. ft. of well equipped space. This broader effort includes also seven associate professors on the BME and ChE faculties and seeks to bring to fruition the ideas of "Convergence in Biomedical Sciences", a subject on which Peppas has taken a national leadership by promoting cross-disciplinary interactions with the broader medical community, medicine, natural sciences, pharmacy, nursing, business and law schools. In fact Dr. Peppas is actively involved in several aspects of the new Dell Medical School including recruiting committees, the establishment of a new MD/MS program for our MD students, the creation of new summer immersion courses for entrepreneurs, company leaders and practitioners, etc. Dr. Peppas has been recognized as one of the most cited researchers in the world (link). He is cited as the most cited author in drug delivery, biomaterials, and intelligent materials ( Web of Science 2015). He has also ranked as one of the most cited scientists with 80,000 citations (more than half of them in just the last five years) and an H-index of 135 (link) including thirteen contributions with more than 1,000 citations each.

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