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UNC scientists garner new NIH awards for high risk, transformative research
Date:9/23/2009

ogically inactive compounds that convert to the active form of the drug within the body, in this case for pain relief.

"These studies will allow us to harness a class of enzymes that are found on the membrane of pain-sensing neurons as treatments for acute and chronic pain," Zylka said. "In addition, they have the potential to transform how we treat pain in millions of patients and with fewer side effects."

DeSimone, Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been granted a Pioneer Award, one of only 18 such honors handed out this year. The Pioneer Award is described by the NIH as being designed to support individual scientists of exceptional creativity who propose pioneering and possibly transforming approaches to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research.

DeSimone and his research group will use the award to develop new methods for delivering promising biological therapeutics peptides, proteins, antibodies, antibody fragments and nucleic acids (siRNA, miRNA, shRNA replicons, DNA plasmids) to specific locations in the body in a safe and effective fashion. Such methods and therapies could be used to treat many different diseases, including cancer, autoimmune, inflammatory, metabolic, cardiovascular, ophthalmologic and numerous infectious diseases, as well as neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease and for the treatment of pain.

The research will build on DeSimone's existing work, including his invention of techniques for mass-producing "custom made" micro- and nanoparticles tailored to have specific sizes, shapes and surface properties. That technology, know as PRINT (Particle Replication in Non-wetting Templates), is exclusively licensed to Liquidia Technologies, a UNC spin-off company based in Research Triangle Park.

DeSimone is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the pharmacology department in the School of Medicine; t
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Contact: Les Lang
llang@med.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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