Elastrin's Chief Scientific Officer Prof. Naren Vyavahare was granted USD 2.2 million from the National Institutes of Health to advance his research on reversing calcification by use of targeted nanoparticles. As Hunter Endowed Chair of Bioengineering at Clemson University and Director of the Bioengineering Center for Regeneration and Formation of Tissues (SC BioCRAFT) Prof. Vyavahare has a long standing relationship with the NIH that goes back more than two decades.
This last grant comes just 1.5 years after previous backing that was also focused on loaded nanoparticles and yielded very promising results. The decision by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to continue and even expand their support for this research shows their confidence in the ongoing work and the great potential this platform has for reversing calcification and restoring the vessel walls, thereby possibly helping millions of patients in the future.
The funding will be used to explore the effectiveness the nanoparticle platform posses for reversing medial artery calcification (MAC) and restoring degraded elastin in vessel walls that were damaged from diseases like chronic kidney disease (CKD) or diabetes. One of the mechanisms that makes MAC particularly resilient to successful and long-lasting treatment is the transdifferentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) to osteoblast-like cells which usually occurs in this pathology. A particularly intriguing aim of Prof. Vyavahare's research will be to explore, if permanent reversal of calcification leads to vascular homeostasis through reversing this cellular transition process or if the media will repopulate with new VSMCs made from various stem cell types.
Learn more about Prof. Vyavahare's past achievements and in our heritage section.
See the project information on the NIH website.