This project proposes a new nanomedicine approach to treat type 2 diabetes (T2D). Studies in humans and mice have shown that inflammation in fat tissues and the pancreas is a major driving force for the development of obesity-induced insulin resistance and diabetes. A major limitation of current drugs is that they distribute over the entire body, exposing all cell types, while only a small amount reaches the desired target cells at disease sites, such as macrophages in inflamed tissues. This results in limited drug efficacy and unwanted side-effects. We aim to develop a new treatment for T2D that exploits the natural physiological processes to suppress inflammation in macrophages within fat tissues and the pancreas with high potency. We will use lipid nanoparticles (LNP), which are drug delivery systems customized to stably carry a large amount of drugs to macrophages.
Scientific development in this project will involve testing of LNP containing immune-modulating drugs in obese, diabetic mice, and measuring the anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects. With close to half a billion people worldwide suffering from T2D, we believe that the proposed cell-specific treatment can have a significant impact on health and the economy.