Translational Nanomedical Therapies for Cardiac and Vascular Diseases


Contract Number

Active Period
2010-2015 Initial PEN

Mount Sinai - New York
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Brigham and Womens Hospital
Columbia University
New York University

Web Site
Coming Soon

$16.4 Million ca.

Principal Investigators

Zahi A. Fayad, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator
Professor of Radiology and Medicine (Cardiology)
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Klingenstein Clinical Center Floor Bsmt Level Room ANVIL - CB2-20
1450 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029
phone: 212-241-6858
fax: 646-537-9693

Robert S. Langer, Sc.D.
Co-Principal Investigator
David H. Koch Institute Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Room 76-661
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
phone: 617-253-3413
fax: 617-258-8827


This contract aims to establish a unique multidisciplinary Program of Excellence in Nanotechnology (PEN) by integrating the cardiovascular medicine and imaging expertise of highly productive NHLBI-funded investigators at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York University, and Columbia University, with the cutting-edge biomolecular and nanomedical engineering expertise of world-renowned pioneers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brigham and Women's Hospital. The overarching long-term goal of this PEN contract is to establish an innovative research and training program focused on developing translational nanomedical tools for the imaging-facilitated diagnosis and minimally-invasive treatment of vascular and cardiac diseases.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developed nations with an enormous societal and economic burden that costs millions of lives and over $360 billion per year in the US alone. Since the development of novel treatment strategies for atherosclerosis has stagnated in recent years, and the conventional treatment modalities to reduce heart failure (HF) mortality are only slowly progressing, there exists an urgent need to explore new and potent therapeutic approaches. The exploitation of nanotechnology in cardiovascular disease has been largely unexplored, but may have unprecedented benefits in both preventing atherosclerosis progression and treating irreparable clinical events like myocardial infarction. Nanotherapies have the potential to help increase the efficacy of anti-atherosclerotic drugs and novel regenerative therapies, with significantly reduced adverse side effects. 

In the current PEN contract we propose to develop sophisticated translational nanoparticle technologies for molecular cardiac regeneration, atherosclerotic plaque inflammation and diagnostic therapy of atherosclerosis. Toward this aim, we propose three carefully designed research projects that creatively utilize nanotechnology to tackle specific cardiac and vascular diseases whose resolution would have a major clinical impact:

(1) We will investigate minimally invasive nanotechnology-based approaches to induce genetically driven regeneration of infarcted myocardium.

(2) We will develop novel nanotherapeutic approaches for defective inflammation resolution in atherosclerosis.

(3) We will develop a theranostic nanoparticle platform with surface activation properties to efficiently and specifically target macrophages in atherosclerotic plaques.

All projects have a high degree of translational potential as well as a strong emphasis on developing state-of-the-art nanotechnology, with the balance between translation and technology varying among the 3 projects to maximize the impact of opportunities afforded by this unique collaboration. All 3 projects offer outstanding opportunities for the training and professional development of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with the multidisciplinary skills required to apply nanotechnology in the context of cardiovascular disease.

The interactions among the investigators and projects are strengthened by the establishment of 3 cores. The Nanotechnology Core directly supports the nanotechnical and nanochemical components of the projects. The Skills Development Core is focused on educating and training students and young investigators in nanotechnology and cardiovascular nanomedicine, and also involves community outreach efforts to enhance public awareness of nanotechnology and cardiovascular health and disease. The Administrative Core will be responsible for day-to-day operations, oversight of the PEN, and managing of the budget. A special emphasis will be placed on the translation of innovative nanotechnology approaches to clinical utility, a specialty of our assembled team of investigators. This PEN contract will build upon our established strengths in the nanotechnology and cardiovascular fields, a history of exceptional education and training of students and young investigators, and support by strong institutional commitments to translational medicine, fostering a concerted effort to drive the proposed nanotechnologies towards clinical application. Finally, the co-PIs (Z. Fayad & R. Langer) represent a unique partnership that is ideally poised to lead this coalition of a premier institute of technology and several world-class medical centers whose ultimate research mission is to improve human health and patient care.

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