Grant fuels development of inhalable nanomedicine for lung diseases

With funding from the Discovery to Product program, Professor Seungpyo Hong and his collaborators are accelerating their research on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

By Nicole Etter, UW–Madison School of Pharmacy

Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and COVID-19 survivors with damaged lungs could eventually breathe easier because of a new treatment in development at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. School of Pharmacy Professor Seungpyo Hong, Milton J. Henrichs Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of the Wisconsin Center for NanoBioSystems (WisCNano), along with Allan Brasier, executive director of the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, and QuadraGenics, a biotechnology company co-founded by Brasier, recently received a State Economic Engagement and Development (SEED) grant from UW’s Discovery to Product (D2P) program to get their innovative research closer to the marketplace.

The outlook for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis has been bleak: Patients’ lungs become inflamed and then increasingly clogged with scar tissue that blocks the flow of oxygen. With no existing cure, most patients die of respiratory failure three to five years after diagnosis. This devastating disease affects up to 3 million people worldwide and kills 40,000 Americans every year, and a growing number of survivors of severe COVID-19 have also developed fibrosis in the lungs, with a long-term outlook that’s still unclear.

But nanomedicine approaches offer new hope. Through the SEED grant, funded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the UW–Madison research team is working on novel molecular drug delivery technologies to more effectively treat pulmonary fibrosis. Read more …