Jian Yang, The Pennsylvania State University
Design and Applications of Citrate-Based Biodegradable Photoluminescent Polymers and Dyes
Written by Maria Torres Arango
Biodegradable polymers are of paramount importance in medical applications because they can be transformed into simpler molecules and be subsequently eliminated from the organism. On the other hand, multiple disease diagnosis rely on markers such as dye molecules, quantum dots, and functionalized inorganic nanoparticles that help identify and treat the effected areas. Most of the time these derive in toxic compounds or accumulate, which is not convenient. Jian Yang’s research group at The Pennsylvania State University has shown how fluorescent biodegradable polymers can be obtained from citric-acid-based fluorophores that combine functionality and means for elimination. Moreover, aside from the conventional use of markers, a revolutionary concept for disease treatment is envisioned as allowed from this materials development: conjugation of leucocyte cells and fluorescent biodegradable drug-polymeric nanoparticles as a tool for targeted cell treatment. “Using live cells to carry on drug-nanoparticles, we can drop to the tumor sites, to the inflammation sites, we call this ‘immune-cell mediated drug delivery,’” Yang explained. Certainly, this is an important step in many disease therapy where only the corrupted cells would be treated.