A new biotechnology developed at the University at Buffalo shows promise in helping to treat autoimmune diseases, and the State University of New York is investing $50,000 for more study of its effectiveness in gene therapy.
Sathy V. Balu-Iyer, UB professor of pharmaceutical science, has invented a nanoparticle that can be used in conjunction with biologic drugs that often are prescribed to treat autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
A problem with biologic drugs – which are derived from human genes – is that they can trigger the body to produce antibodies that fight against the drugs, reducing their effectiveness. The new nanoparticle has the potential to "teach" the human body not to mount an immune response to the drugs. It also holds similar promise in combination with gene therapies.
The award to UB was one of four investments announced this week as part of the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund. Projects at the University at Albany, Binghamton University and SUNY Oswego also received investments. The fund helps accelerate the development and commercialization of innovations developed by SUNY faculty and students.