PI: Dr. Patrick Stayton
Location: UW Bioengineering
Protein and Nucleic Acid Delivery
Nucleic acid and protein biologic drugs are currently limited in scope by delivery barriers at the system, tissue, and sub-cellular levels. To address this need, multi-functional carriers for nucleic acids and proteins are being developed in the Stayton laboratory that incorporate targeting elements, conjugation or complexation elements, and a “stealth” component to optimize safety and pharmaco-kinetic properties. The ampholytic carriers are also designed like pathogens to activate via protonation events triggered in the endosome. The carriers thus possess a hidden functionality that is expressed in the endosomal compartment to increase cytosolic delivery of biologic drugs. Controlled polymerization techniques are exploited to streamline bioconjugation of targeting agents and therapeutics, as well as to generate controlled carrier architectures. These drug delivery systems are applicable to a wide range of biotherapeutics, and might open up new families of peptide, antibody or nucleic acid drug candidates that attack previously inaccessible intracellular targets. Applications include intracellular anti-cancer protein drugs, RNA drugs, and protein-based vaccines.