Polyketals: a new drug delivery platform for treating acute liver failure
Yang, Stephen Chen
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Acute liver failure is a major cause of death in the world, and effective treatments are greatly needed. Liver macrophages (Kupffer cells) play a major role in the pathology of acute liver failure, and drug delivery vehicles that can target therapeutics to Kupffer cells have great therapeutic potential for treating acute liver failure. Microparticles, formulated from biodegradable polymers, are advantageous for treating acute liver failure because they can passively target therapeutics to Kupffer cells. However, existing biomaterials are not suitable for the treatment of acute liver failure because of their slow hydrolysis and acidic degradation products. In this dissertation, I present the development of a new class of biodegradable materials, termed aliphatic polyketals, which have considerable potential as drug delivery vehicles for the treatment of acute liver failure because of their neutral degradation products and tunable hydrolysis kinetics. The anti-inflammatory enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD), was delivered using polyketal microparticles to the liver for treating acute liver Failure. Our results demonstrated that polyketal microparticles significantly improved the efficacy of SOD in treating LPS-induced acute liver damage in vivo, as evidenced by decreased levels of serum alanine transaminase, which corresponds to the extent of damage in the liver, and serum level of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, which corresponds to the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The completion of this thesis research demonstrates the ability of polyketal-based drug delivery systems for treating acute inflammatory diseases and creates a potential therapy for enhancing the treatment of acute liver failure.