Macromolecular Therapeutics

Focus is on the development of synthetic polymers as bioactive pharmaceuticals for unmet clinical needs in iron chelation therapy, antithrombotic therapy and anticancer treatment.

Polymer-based Bioengineering Approaches for Systemic Iron Removal

We are addressing an unmet clinical need in the treatment of systemic iron overload in patients suffering from sickle cell disease, thalassemia and myelodysplastic syndromes. Current management is based on long-term treatment with Fe (III) specific chelators. However, it is far from optimal due to side effects and non-compliance. Long circulating biocompatible macromolecular chelators with engineered biodegradability has the potential to enhance iron sequestration and excretion, preventing injury due to excess body iron and will prevent or reverse iron overload; a new paradigm in the treatment of Iron overload. Significant new opportunities also exist beyond iron overload diseases for the use of this novel chelating system and the polymers in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation, infection, and cancer treatment.

Design of Polymers to Prevent Bleeding and as Novel Antithrombotics

Life-threatening bleeding complications are associated with anticoagulant (blood thinner) therapy. Given the crucial role of anticoagulants in treating/managing acute and chronic arterial and venous thrombotic events, and in cardiovascular surgery, there remains an unmet clinical need to develop a safe, rapid, predictable, cost-effective strategy to reliably reverse the anticoagulant effects of various anticoagulants.  We are developing novel polymeric neutralizing agents which can prevent bleeding complications associated with anticoagulant use. Further, we are investigating the development of novel biocompatible polymeric molecules that target prothrombotic molecules in circulating blood for the treatment of thrombosis in patients. This will be a new paradigm in the treatment of bleeding and thromboembolic diseases.

Representative publications

  1. Biomaterials 2009, 30, 638-648.
  2. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134(36), 14945-14957.
  3. Biomacromolecules 2012, 13, 3018-30.
  4. Biomaterials 2012, 33 (31):7871-83.
  5. Biomaterials 2013, 34(25), 6068-6081.
  6. ACS Nano 2013, 7(12), 10704-10716.
  7. PLoS One. 2014 Oct 16;9(10):e109880.
  8. Science Transl. Med., 2014, 6(260):260ra150. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009427
  9. Blood 2014, 124(22):3183-90.