A Novel Nanomedicine for The Treatment of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Imam Uddin, MD, PhD
Vanderbilt Eye Institute (Nashville, TN)
Year Awarded:
2019
Grant Duration:
July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021
Disease:
Macular Degeneration
Award Amount:
$200,000
Grant Reference ID:
M2019023
Award Type:
Standard
Award Region:
US Southeastern
Imam Uddin, MD

Hairpin-DNA Functionalized Nanoformulations for Specific Gene Silencing in Vivo in An Animal Model of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Summary

The goal of this proposal is to demonstrate the applications of a nanotechnology-based approach for the management of ‘wet’ AMD without using any toxic transfection reagents. In this approach, Dr. Uddin and colleagues will use gold nanoparticles engineered for the first time to treat AMD specific genes to overcome the limitations of existing therapy. They will test this new technology for its safety, high sensitivity, and specificity in cells and in animal models of ‘wet’ AMD. Using this novel nanotechnology, clinicians might be able to reduce specific diseased genes in AMD patients and could permanently reduce the risk of progression in a more timely fashion and preserving the vision.

Details

The goal of this proposed research is to demonstrate the application of a nanotechnology-based approach for the management of ‘wet’ AMD without using any toxic transfection reagents. In this approach, Dr. Uddin and colleagues will use gold nanoparticles engineered for the first time to treat AMD specific genes to overcome the limitations of existing therapy. They will test this new technology for its safety, high sensitivity, and specificity in cells and in animal models of ‘wet’ AMD. Using this novel nanotechnology, clinicians might be able to reduce specific diseased genes in AMD patients and could permanently reduce the risk of progression in a more timely fashion and preserving the vision.

About the Researcher

Dr. Uddin is a new investigator and a primary Faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee. His long-term goal is to develop novel nanoconjugates for targeted delivery, treatment and imaging vascular diseases, primarily neovascular or “wet” AMD. Dr. Uddin is a chemist and bioengineer by training, with expertise in the development of molecularly targeted imaging and therapeutic agents for ocular disease. He has authored several publications in the field of targeted delivery with therapeutic applications, holds several patents related to this area of research, and is actively engaged in research toward clinical translation of these new technologies. In 2017, Dr. Uddin developed the novel AS-ENG-hAuNP nanoconjugate for controlled delivery of endoglin mRNA targeted therapeutics in ocular tissues and capable of silencing specific mRNA target in neovascular tissues. He will utilize this novel nanotechnology in the proposed study to treat endogenous mRNA in choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in an animal model of LCNV. Dr. Uddin’s research is funded through a career development award from Knights Templar Eye Foundation, and research Grant from National Institute of Health- NIDDK sponsored MICROMouse Program (MMPC) and two National Institute of Health R01 Grants (Uddin, PI). 

Personal Story

Dr. Uddin has a long-term interest in the link between disease etiology, imaging and nanotechnologies. His long term goal is to develop therapeutics and targeted imaging agents for vascular diseases of the eye, with primary emphasis on neovascular or “wet” age-related macular degeneration (AMD). One focus area of his research is to discover novel methods to detect and treat AMD by targeting mRNA biomarkers in living systems. These new techniques will facilitate the early detection of slowly progressing disease such as AMD. Dr. Uddin is among the first to introduce molecularly targeted imaging of mRNA using hairpin-DNA-functionalized gold nanoparticles in preclinical models of AMD. This technology has the promise of enhancing diagnostic capabilities of the ophthalmologist, thereby improving outcomes in AMD patients, and eventually other diseases such as neovascular diabetic retinopathy. The applicant will take advantage of this BrightFocus Foundation grant support to explore the possibility of targeted delivery of these nanomedicine to treat neovascular AMD. 

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