BioE Seminar Series: Advances in Engineering Particles for Autoimmune Disease Therapy
Current paradigms for the treatment of autoimmune diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis [RA]) are woefully inadequate, often missing the mark on desired physiological responses and not targeting the root cause of the disease. Predictably, novel approaches to re-establish immune homeostasis in patients afflicted by autoimmune conditions are now under intense investigation. Notably, we are developing an array of multifunctional, biomaterial-based 'regulatory vaccines' that can be easily administered to remediate some of the prevalent autoimmune diseases. In this talk, I will focus on two particulate systems currently under development in my lab, which attempt to control critical cellular and humoral mediators that engender conditions such as RA and autoimmune autism. Additionally, the Lewis lab is currently investigating the interaction of innate immune cells and degradable polymers (e.g. PLGA). More specifically, we are interested in deciphering the mechanisms that govern the effects of these materials on innate immune cells. Finally, we are studying a phenomenon termed 'vomocytosis'. Likened to the Trojan horse used by the Greeks to infiltrate Troy, this approach has the potential to tremendously boost the efficacy of modulatory agents (including vaccines) for the treatment of any immune condition.