Chronic lung inflammation typically leads to scarring (called fibrosis) of the delicate respiratory tissues that can ultimately prevent the body from getting enough oxygen to sustain life. While a number of promising therapeutics exist, delivering these drugs to the affected tissues has proven to be challenging. Protecting the drug inside a degradable material can help it reach its target destination.
At CU Boulder, I research a drug delivery system that uses polymeric microparticles to reach macrophages that reside in the lungs. Macrophages are special immune cells that clean up threats like debris and bacteria in our bodies, especially at interfaces that contact the outside world. By making particles that are around the same size as microbes, we can take advantage of this uptake mechanism, called phagocytosis, to deliver the therapeutic. We hope that by developing this drug delivery system we can support improved treatment of inflammatory lung diseases in the future.