Dr. Gregg Duncan, University of Maryland, College Park
Host Dr. Mike Summers
“Engineering approaches on the nanoscale to diagnose and treat pulmonary diseases”
There is a strong clinical need for new biomarkers and improved treatments of obstructive lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis (CF). The role of airway mucus in the progression of these diseases has yet to be clearly determined and as a result, reliable mucus biomarkers have not been established. In addition, despite being considered a promising and potentially curative therapeutic strategy, inhaled gene therapy has been unable to provide a clinical benefit to patients affected with CF and other life-threatening lung diseases. In this talk, I will describe the development of nanoscale approaches that allow (i) for sensitive detection of disease-associated mucus defects and (ii) for enhanced delivery of gene therapeutics to the lungs. Our results give new insights into the lung airway microenvironment that may provide the rationale for improved diagnosis and treatment of patients with obstructive lung diseases.