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Improving Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases

Chandra Kothapalli develops novel nanoparticles that can detect and regress aneurysms

An aneurysm occurs when part of an artery wall weakens, allowing it to balloon out or widen abnormally. It is a major negative side effect of cardiovascular disease and can cause serious health problems and even death, particularly if an aneurysm leads to the bursting of a major blood vessel.

Chandra Kothapalli, associate professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at Cleveland State University, is seeking to reduce the incidence of aneurysms through the use of novel nanoparticles that could arrest matrix protein degradation in blood vessels, a key factor in the weakening of artery walls. Through a new $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Kothapalli and colleagues at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute will expand on previous pilot tests by investigating the effectiveness of such nanoparticles on human tissues. The ultimate goal will be to develop a viable therapy for use in reducing the negative effects of cardiovascular disease, thereby regressing aneurysms.

“Initial investigations have shown promise in the use of specifically targeted nanoparticles that can identify tissues that have experienced protein degradation and then repair them through the release of nitric oxide,” Kothapalli adds. “This research project will allow us to expand testing to human tissues and simulated human blood vessels, which will let us track how the particles would actually operate within the human body.”

Kothapalli hopes the data developed through the study will lead to further development of nanoparticle-based drug therapies that could be tested on human subjects and ultimately submitted for FDA approval.

“Cardiovascular disease is one of the number one causes of death in the U.S.,” he adds. “It is our distinct hope that this effort could one day lead to the introduction of more effective medications that could directly reduce fatalities and help people live longer and healthier lives.”