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Making tiny plastic particles to deliver lifesaving medicine

approved for other medical applications, making it more likely they will pose no health hazards to humans in their new polymeric form.

Recent work by Hanes, doctoral candidate Michelle Dawson and associate professor Denis Wirtz has focused on understanding how to alter the design of drug-carrying particles so that they can more efficiently cross the mucus lining in the lungs to reach their cell targets underneath. Reports on this work are expected appear shortly in the "Journal of Biology Chemistry," "Biotechnology Progress" and the "Journal of Aerosol Medicine."

Earlier this year, in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences," Hanes, Wirtz and Junghae Suh, a doctoral candidate, reported that their nanoscopic particles appear to be able to efficiently deliver therapeutic genes by carrying DNA directly to the cell nucleus. Someday, Hanes said, this technique also may prove useful in delivering toxic cancer-fighting drugs only to cells affected by the disease.

For his research accomplishments, Hanes is being recognized in the October issue of MIT's "Technology Review" as one of the world's top 100 young innovators. The TR100, chosen by the publication's editors and an elite panel of judges, consists of 100 individuals under 35 whose innovative work in technology has a profound impact on today's world. Nominees are recognized for their contributions in transforming the nature of technology in industries such as biotechnology, computing, energy, medicine, manufacturing, nanotechnology, telecommunications and transportation. This marks the second consecutive year that a Johns Hopkins engineering faculty member has appeared on the TR100. Last year, the magazine singled out Jennifer Elisseeff, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, for her research in the field of tissue engineering.

Hanes has focused much of his attention on the lungs because they possess several advantages over other drug delivery routes. When medicine is
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Contact: Phil Sneiderman
prs@jhu.edu
410-516-7160
Johns Hopkins University
26-Sep-2003


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