We are designing therapeutics by engineering natural and synthetic nanomaterials, targeting cancerous tumor and neurodegenerative disease.

1. Therapeutic Extracellular Vesicles for Cancer Treatment

As nanoscale extracellular vesicles secreted by cells, exosomes have enormous potential as safe and effective vehicles to deliver drugs into lesion locations. Despite promising advances with exosome-based drug delivery systems, there are still challenges to drug loading into exosome, which hinder the clinical applications of exosomes. Herein, we report an exogenous drug chiral graphene quantum dots (GQDs) exosome-loading platform, based on chirality matching with the exosome membrane.

Furthermore, combining exosome and functional nanoparticles (NPs) can produce innovative delivery systems, and the inherent characteristics of inorganic materials, such as fluorescent development, tracking, photothermal responses, can also provide exosomes with tracking effects and potential multifunctional therapies. The Wang Lab engineered exosomes by combining the merits of both native exosomes and synthetic NPs as a potential platform for expanding exosome-based drug delivery to the diversified biomedical applications such as cancer treatment.

2. Tau-targeting Nanotherapeutic for Neurodegenerative Disease

Tauopathies are a group of over 20 clinicopathological neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, presenting with a range of phenotypes such as cognitive dysfunction, executive dysfunction, language dysfunction, and motor disturbance in advanced age. To date, more than 50 million people worldwide suffer from them. The primary characteristic feature of tauopathies is the presence of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain composed of tau protein aggregates.

The Wang Lab utilizes engineered BBB-permeable graphene quantum dots (GQDs) that inhibit and disassemble tau protein aggregates with high efficiency, combined with ‘β-breaker’ peptidomimetic ligands that exhibit selective affinity for tau. We are developing BBB-permeable nano-inhibitors with tau-specific binding ability for the treatment of tauopathies, which provide a promising platform for the treatment of tauopathies.

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