Basic science and drug discovery efforts at the Wilmer Eye Institute and Johns Hopkins have unearthed a myriad of exciting pathways and therapeutic targets underlying the pathogenesis of ocular diseases and disorders. However, there is often a disconnect between the phenomena studied in cell and tissue culture systems and observing meaningful biological outcomes in preclinical animal models and in human clinical studies.
Often, this is not because the drug, gene, or protein of interest does not “work”, but because it does not reach the cells and tissue of interest at therapeutic levels without dose-limiting toxicities at other sites in the body. Therein lies the promise of “nanomedicine-based drug delivery”, where nanoscale particle-based or device-based platform technologies provide sustained, targeted delivery to the cells and tissues of interest to exert a superior therapeutic effect with fewer doses and diminished off-target toxicities.
Further, nanomedicine can also be utilized to enhance basic research at all levels, including more effective and targeted delivery of inducers for gene expression in genetically engineered animals, and delivery of genes or small molecules to cultured cells to promote transition to desired phenotypes. The Drug Delivery and Nanotechnology (DD&N) module, led by faculty in Wilmer’s Center for Nanomedicine (CNM), provides these services and more to enhance the research efforts of our vision research community.