Sharma receives NIH NIAMS grant

Blanca Sharma

Congratulations to Dr. Blanka Sharma and collaborators for receiving an NIH National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases grant for her project titled “ROS scavenging nanoparticles for mitigating oxidative stress in osteoarthritis”. The team of investigators includes Dr. Kyle Allen (BME), Dr. Terrence Ryan (Applied Physiology and Kinesiology), and Dr. Hari Parvataneni (Orthopedic Surgery).

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a highly prevalent degenerative joint disease for which no cure or effective therapy exists. Oxidative stress plays a central role in the development and progression of OA, and represents an important therapeutic target. Unfortunately, attempts to boost antioxidant defenses within the joint have been clinically disappointing. Small molecule antioxidants and enzymes are plagued by poor stability and bioavailability, resulting in inadequate concentrations within target tissues and cells.  This research aims to overcome these limitations by engineering a nanomaterial, based on manganese oxide, with antioxidant properties that are more stable and less costly than conventional small molecules and enzymes. In addition, the properties of these nanomaterials will be tailored for retention and cell targeting in osteoarthritic cartilage, which is a critical barrier for OA therapies.

Overall, this project will advance a new strategy for targeting oxidative stress in diseased joints that overcomes persistent challenges with the delivery and therapeutic success of antioxidants.