Project 4

Mucus Penetrating Nanoparticles for Small Cell Lung Cancer

Principal Investigator: Justin Hanes
Co-Investigators: Richard Cone, Craig Peacock, Charles Rudin

Delivering therapies directly to small cell lung cancer tissue via mucus-penetrating nanoparticles (MPP) is the focus of the CCNE’s final project. Led by professors Justin Hanes and Craig Peacock, each of the School of Medicine, this team investigates the effectiveness of controlled drug delivery via inhalation of the MPP compared to drugs delivered through the blood stream.  The team uses biodegradable nanoparticles coated with a substance that makes them slip more easily through the mucus meshwork that lines the airways of the lungs, thus potentially allowing the drug-loaded particles to persist longer in the lungs.“Early stage small cell lung cancer is generally limited to the airways of the lungs, where traditional chemotherapy does not typically reach effectively,” Hanes said.  “We have generated a nanoparticle strategy that allows direct drug delivery to the airways that we hope will improve drug effectiveness while reducing side effects.  The ability of our nanosystems to penetrate the airway mucus layers will allow them to reside in the lung airways for longer times, thus ensuring most of the drug is delivered locally where the cancer resides.”