Using nanomaterials to lower cholesterol

LDL-r-HPMA Unicelles: biodegradable pre-assembled unimolecular micelles platform for lowering serum cholesterol

Daniel Whelligan (lead researcher)

Surrey, University of

Start date: 01 October 2014 (Duration 3 years)

Atherosclerosis, where blood vessels become ‘furred up’ and narrowed, is a major cause of death and disability in the UK. Statins are used to lower cholesterol for those with, atherosclerosis but they are not always well tolerated. There are many patients who cannot receive statins, so we still need new therapies to tackle this disease, particularly for high risk patients.

Drugs are normally circulated throughout the body but often can’t reach high enough levels at the exact part of the body where they are needed. They can also be damaging to other organs and tissues. Nanomaterials are extremely small, a billionth of a metre – but still tens or hundreds of times bigger than a chemical like aspirin. Nanomaterials therefore have the potential to act as tiny boxes, delivering drugs to the parts of the body where they are needed.

Dr Gabriel Cavalli Petraglia from the University of Surrey has received a grant to train a student in a truly multidisciplinary way and learn the skills necessary to bridge drug discovery and development of nanomedicines.

The successful applicant will develop new ways to lower cholesterol in the blood using nanomaterials which could be injected and circulated in the blood to gather up LDL- often known as ‘bad-cholesterol’. They will test how well the nanomaterials work and if they are safe. If successful, this research may reveal an effective new strategy to lower cholesterol and the incidence of strokes and heart attacks in patients who are at risk, and offer hope to those who cannot receive current treatments.

Project details

Grant amount £106,747
Grant type Fellowship
Application type PhD Studentship
Start Date 01 October 2014
Duration 3 years
Reference FS/14/45/30967
Status In progress

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