Self-Management of Abnormal Scars with Spherical Nucleic Acid Technology

Project: Research project

Project Details


The importance of scar management has never been as significant as it is today. The disfiguring nature and potential permanence of scars make scar prevention and treatment a major concern for patients. Worst-case scenarios involve the development of abnormal scars (hypertrophic or keloid scars), which are painful, disfiguring, aesthetically unpleasant and can negatively impact quality of life. Abnormal scars frequently persist at the site of injury and recur after treatment. Although much has been learned about their pathophysiology, existing treatments (including corticosteroid injection, pressure dressings, and surgery) have limited efficacy and are neither readily accessible nor patient-friendly. We propose to develop spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) into a self-administered therapeutic for the prevention and reversal of abnormal scar formation. NU investigators Mirkin and Paller have demonstrated that SNAs are potent gene regulation agents, consisting of a dense spherical shell of highly oriented oligonucleotides; SNAs enter 100% of keratinocytes in vitro within hours and penetrate through human skin equivalents, intact mouse skin, and human abdominoplasty skin after topical application. In this proposed research, NU investigators will further develop SNAs to target the genes implicated in abnormal scar formation, and will collaborate with NTU investigator Xu to advance the development of SNAs for in vivo use by analyzing the efficacy and safety of SNAs in the prevention and treatment of hypertrophic scars in rabbit ears. This proposed research will build upon the innovation of SNAs by identifying SNA designs without a gold nanoparticle core; this design feature obviates any potential chronic toxicity concerns and reduces the risk of complication in regulatory approval. The evaluation of these new SNA designs in vitro and in vivo is intended to translate the science of SNAs into a solution for a biomedical challenge that it is uniquely positioned to address: user-friendly topical administration of a therapeutic agent for treating skin defects.
Effective start/end date11/1/1410/31/20


  • Nanyang Technological University (Agmt 10/20/14)


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