NPF-Funded Research

Immunoregulatory Nanoparticles for Modulating Psoriatic Arthritis

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Grantee: Ryan Jones
Mentor: Nisarg Shah, Ph.D.
The Regents of the University of California, San Diego

Grant Mechanism: Summer Student Research Grant
Funding Amount: $5,000
Project Start Date: July 1, 2023
Project End Date: September 9, 2023
Status: Active
Keywords: Psoriatic Arthritis, Basic Science, Drug Therapy, Inflammation, Gene Expression, Immunology

Project Summary:

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs have greatly improved the management of psoriasis but often display only partial effectiveness in a significant fraction of patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA). While the causes of PsA are complex, inflammatory immune cells called T cells that are normally protective instead attack one’s own joints. An anti-inflammatory population of immune cells, called regulatory T cells, would be able to prevent disease even in the presence of inflammatory T cells. However, in some patients with PsA, the number and function of regulatory T cells is insufficient. We have developed and tested a new technology based on nanoparticles that can be injected directly into the affected joint to deliver a molecule that locally repairs regulatory T cells. These particles are made from a polymer that is biodegradable and dissolves away completely from the joint once sufficient quantities of the molecule to repair regulatory T cells have been delivered. Here, I wish to test the effectiveness of my nanoparticles in a mouse model of inflammatory arthritis. The project will support my goal of developing a nanoparticle-based immunomodulatory treatment for PsA.

Career Development Statement:

My career objective is to conduct research and development activities in disease-modifying drugs for inflammatory diseases. In the near term, I wish to pursue a Ph.D. program and have been actively involved in research as an undergraduate student. As a member of Dr. Shah’s group, I have been conducting research at the interface of immunology and engineering with a major focus in developing biomaterials as regulators to tune the immune response. The genesis of the proposed project is in my work with Dr. Shah, which is in designing biomaterials to modulate inflammation in inflammatory arthritides by enhancing Treg. I am excited about my project and support from NPF will provide the financial support for me to continue my research in my final summer as an undergraduate student. I will leverage the unique expertise in Dr. Shah’s group to conduct the proposed work and generate a first-author publication, which would strongly support my application for doctoral studies in biomedical engineering.

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