Drug Delivery

Pain Management

A Novel Analgesic Device for Pain Management

XUDONG (JOSH) LI, Assoc. Prof. Orthopaedic Surgery (SOM), BAOXING XU, Asst. Prof. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (SEAS)

Pain management is an area of high national importance, as adequately managed postoperative pain not only improves patient satisfaction and quality of life, but it helps with earlier mobilization after procedures, shortens hospital stays and reduces costs. Unfortunately, the widespread use of opioid-based drugs for treatment of acute or chronic pain associated with injuries and surgeries has led to a staggering rise in opioid abuse and opioid-related deaths.

This partnership between the UVA DEPARTMENT OF ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY and DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL AND AEROSPACE ENGINEERING will develop and test high-tech drug delivery patches that can be applied to the skin to deliver medications locally at the site of pain rather than systemically, reducing the potential for side effects and addiction. This work builds on expertise at UVA in designing ultra-thin, flexible sensors and circuits that can be applied directly to the skin.

Nanoengineering Vaccines

Immune stimulating nanoparticles containing 6MHP (melanoma helper peptides) for targeted peptide vaccines

Craig Slinguff, Professor of Surgery – Oncology (SOM),  Mark Kester, Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Pharmacology (SOM/SEAS), Helena Snyder, Research Scientist, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (SEAS)

Cancer immunotherapy has emerged as the most effective way to control cancer and improve long-term survival in patients with many types of cancer. In particular, cancer vaccines stimulate the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells, avoiding the risk of toxicity and high costs of producing antibodies outside the body and injecting them. Clinical trials have already shown that administration of vaccines for cancer targets increase T cell (immune cell) responses, but the cellular responses are usually limited and therefore not yet optimized.

Collaborators from the UVA Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Pharmacology and Department of Surgery will test an innovative approach to enhance immune cell responsiveness to cancer vaccines specifically for melanoma.  Combining cancer treatment and immunology expertise with nanoengineering (nanoStar) places UVA at the forefront of novel cancer research that will greatly impact clinical care and cancer therapy.