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W12-042: Development and in vitro optimization of hydrogels for the delivery of FHV specific siRNAs encapsulated in chitosan nanoparticles

Feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) typically causes respiratory disease in cats; however, chronic recurrent infections can cause severe eye disease often leading to blindness. Currently there is no effective treatment for these chronic cases. Previous Winn funding has helped investigators design a therapeutic agent, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), which uses the cell’s own machinery to inhibit viral replication through the targeting of essential herpesvirus genes. Investigators have developed a nanoparticle delivery vehicle composed of chitosan, a nontoxic substance to package these siRNAs for delivery into cells. The goal of this study is to develop a hydrogel, similar to a soft contact lens, for delivery of the nanoparticles. The hydrogel can be directly placed in the cat’s eye allowing successful drug uptake and provide extended continuous delivery of the FHV-1 specific siRNAs into the cells. This study will potentially lead to development of a product suitable for use in cats’ eyes for treatment of FHV-1.

Grant ID: W12-042

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2012

Amount awarded: $17,785

Investigator: Rebecca P. Wilkes, DVM, PhD; Scott Lenaghan, PhD; Christopher P. Stephens, MS, PhD; The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine