Dr. Cui’s research is focused on drug and vaccine delivery.
Improving the efficacy of anticancer drugs and overcoming tumor chemoresistance using nanotechnology
An increasing amount of evidence points to the promise of nanotechnology in drug delivery and targeting. We are engineering nanoparticles, including lipid-based, polymeric, and pH-sensitive nanoparticles, to passively or actively target anticancer drugs into tumors to improve the resultant antitumor activity. In addition, we are interested in utilizing nanotechnology to overcome tumor cell chemoresistance, including resistance caused by biological and physiological mechanisms.
Novel vaccine delivery systems with potent adjuvant activity are needed to improve the immunogenicity of new generation vaccines. We are interested in engineering novel nanoparticles to deliver recombinant protein or plasmid DNA vaccines. We are also studying the effect of the physical and chemical properties of nanoparticles on their adjuvant activity.
Non-invasive transcutaneous immunization onto the skin
Skin protects not only by acting as a physical barrier, but also by its role in our powerful immune system. As a frontline of defense against pathogens, skin is well equipped for immune surveillance. Thus, targeting antigens to the skin epidermis can induce strong immune responses. However, the forbidden barrier posed by the stratum corneum layer in the epidermis prevents the entrance of vaccine antigens into the epidermis. Non-invasive transcutaneous immunization onto the skin is an attractive immunization modality, but the immune responses induced are generally weak. We are interested in enhancing the immune responses induced by transcutaneous immunization by modifying the hair follicle cycle or using microneedles.