Novel Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery

Background Nanoparticles have multiple applications in targeted drug delivery and non-invasive monitoring of therapeutics. The benefits of nano-based drug delivery extend to treatments for infectious diseases as well as cancer, cardiovascular, metabolic, and neurological diseases. Market-driven priorities are to synthesize controlled release particles to improve drug treatment methods through reduced cost of treatments, decreased drug toxicity, and improved bioavailability. While currently available nano-based delivery systems involve drug release through diffusion or degradation, this novel technology provides triggered release of a drug or imaging modality in response to specific physiological or disease-specific signals, thereby significantly reducing side effects. The technology also provides means to fabricated nanoparticles of specific sizes, shapes, and aspect ratios that might improve the efficacy of tissue targeting significantly

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed these novel nanofabricated particles such that they degrade and release their cargo (drugs or imaging agents) primarily in response to a physiological or disease-specific signal (e.g., an enzyme). This novel technology could also allow simultaneous non-invasive monitoring of the therapeutics. The technology is superior to previous devices because it may lower side effects and offer improved therapeutic effectiveness through stimuli-driven response.

Invention Description This UT Austin technology is a method and composition for disease-responsive, shape- and size-specific nanoparticles that use silicon nanofabrication technology adapted for biologically compatible materials and drugs. Key advantages of these novel nanoparticles are (a) release of drugs to the target cells primarily in response to a tissue-specific or disease-specific stimulus, and (b) precise control over size and shape of the particles, thereby assuring predictable control over bio-distribution, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. Key applications include delivery of siRNA, DNA, antibodies, and other proteins or peptide-based drugs, as well as imaging contrast agents through intravenous or mucosal routes.

A second related invention was developed to deliver RNA or DNA drugs to cells in vitro and in vivo. Favorable efficiency and toxicity profile are two key advantages. This original method overcomes the limitations for intracellular delivery found with polysaccharides such as chitosan. This is achieved by the conjugation of secondary and tertiary amines with a small molecular modifier to biocompatible polysaccharides (i.e., sugar-type polymers), which can be used to produce nanoparticles with nucleic acids and other molecules for enhanced intracellular delivery with minimal cytotoxicity. This invention can be used to improve delivery of gene therapy and DNA-based vaccines for numerous diseases. It can also be used for delivery of siRNA and miRNA or antisense oligos for disease-specific and organ-specific gene knockdown. The nanoparticles are effective through a variety of routes including intravenous, intranasal, and oral. The research team has demonstrated the potential of this technology through in vitro and in vivo studies in mice.


Reduced side effects Site-specific Controlled Increased bioavailability Improved therapeutic effectiveness Can be used for systemic, intracellular-targeted delivery Easy evaluation of the delivery Potentially reduced cost of development Improved biodistribution


"Intelligent" release mechanism Can deliver therapeutic and imaging agents at the same time Shape- and size-specific nanoparticles

Development Stage Proof of concept

IP Status One U.S. patent application filed

UT Researcher Krishnendu Roy, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin Li Shi, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin Luz-Cristal S. Glangchai, Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Type of Offer: Licensing

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