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Biodegradable polymers show promise for improving treatment of acute inflammatory diseases
Date:8/20/2008

A family of biodegradable polymers called polyketals and their derivatives may improve treatment for such inflammatory illnesses as acute lung injury, acute liver failure and inflammatory bowel disease by delivering drugs, proteins and snips of ribonucleic acid to disease locations in the body.

"The polyketal microparticles we developed are simply a vehicle to get the drugs inside the body to the diseased area as quickly as possible," said Niren Murthy, assistant professor in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. "The major advantage to using these polyketals to deliver drugs is that they degrade into biocompatible compounds that don't accumulate in a patient's tissue or cause additional inflammation."

Details about the polyketals and clinical applications were described during three presentations on August 18-20 at the 236th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia. This research initially started in 2003 is funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

In a presentation on August 19, graduate student Scott Wilson detailed a new polyketal derivative aimed at enhancing the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease an illness that causes the large and small intestines to swell.

The new polymer has the advantage of stability in both acids and bases. It degrades only in the presence of reactive oxygen species, which are present in and around inflamed tissue. Cell culture experiments have demonstrated that the microparticles degraded more rapidly in cells that overproduced superoxide, a reactive oxygen species.

The researchers are currently collaborating with Didier Merlin, a professor in the Division of Digestive Diseases at Emory University, to investigate loading these polyketals with therapeutics to treat inflammatory bowel disease.

"We think these microparticles are going to be fantastic fo
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Contact: Abby Vogel
avogel@gatech.edu
404-385-3364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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