Leveraging Nanoparticle Therapy to Treat Sepsis and Immune Dysregulation
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition where the immune system overreacts to an infection. It is most often seen along with pneumonia or urinary infections. The body reacts by activating an inflammatory response where immune cells produce signaling molecules that combat the infection. Inflammation is a natural defense mechanism, but in sepsis, this response is extreme and can result in organ damage and death. There are currently no drugs that improve the mortality rate for patients with sepsis. Nanoparticles made with poly(lactic acid) polymers, which are anti-inflammatory compounds that can be naturally absorbed, offer the potential to help deliver treatments for sepsis. Antiinflammatory drugs like histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) can reduce the levels of inflammatory signaling molecules. I plan to insert HDACis into nanoparticles that will carry the drugs to specific immune cells to reduce overactive immune responses in sepsis patients. I aim to conduct experiments using immune cells and mice to study the effect of different nanoparticle designs and drug selectivity. Ultimately, I hope to develop
a breakthrough therapeutic that will benefit patients with sepsis.
I am thankful for the many opportunities the PhRMA Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship has granted me to advance my research in nanoparticle therapeutics, and also foster my academic and professional growth as an aspiring scientist.