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December 4, 2013


Dr. Ashutosh Chilkoti
Theo Pilkington Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Director, Center for Biologically Inspired Materials and Materials Systems
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Duke University

“Solving Drug Delivery Problems by Genetically Encoded Peptide Polymers”
4:10 pm, 5326 Stevenson Center
Refreshments at 3:45 pm

Abstract: This talk will focus on the power and versatility of genetic engineering to develop molecularly engineered drug delivery systems.  This talk will highlight two orthogonal designs of genetically encoded peptide polymers –nanoparticles and gels– for drug delivery in two  different therapeutic arenas –cancer and type-2 diabetes. In the first example, I will discuss a general method, attachment-triggered self-assembly of recombinant peptide polymers that packages small hydrophobic molecules into soluble polymer nanoparticles. Because many cancer chemotherapeutics are insoluble small molecules with poor bioavailability, this approach has great utility to increase the solubility, plasma half-life and tumor accumulation of many cancer chemotherapeutics. The second half of the presentation will focus on the delivery of peptide drugs, as they are an exciting class of pharmaceuticals currently in development for the treatment of a variety of diseases; however, their main drawback is a short half-life, which dictates multiple and frequent injections. In the second example, I will discuss a range of injectable delivery systems based on thermally sensitive polypeptides for the sustained and tunable release of peptide and protein drugs from a subcutaneous injection site, one of which ­–Protease Operated Depot (POD)– provides the first molecularly engineered alternative to polymer microsphere technology for peptide delivery.

Host: Melissa Skala

Dr. Ashutosh Chilkoti
Vanderbilt University