The Eniola-Adefeso Lab
Typically, white blood cells are a key agent in repairing tissue, controlling infection, and defeating disease. But in the case of acute lung injury, which has a mortality rate of 40 to 60 percent, white blood cells exacerbate the problem by breaking down vascular barriers to the lung and encouraging the growth of bacteria that can trigger a cascade of life-threatening complications. One of the best hopes for lowering the mortality rate is a new vascular targeted system under development by U-M Chemical Engineering Professor Lola Eniola-Adefeso and her lab. Their unique polymer-drug system is designed to seek out white blood cells (leukocytes) at specific disease sites, and prevent the cells from going into the lungs. In-vitro tests with mouse models, funded by U-M MTRAC for Life Sciences (made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation), demonstrate that this new technology significantly reduces white blood cells in the lung and resolves inflammation. Having recently secured an NIH grant to further her research, Eniola-Adefeso is now working with Tech Transfer to advance her delivery system toward trials, in hopes that it may prove useful in the fight against COVID-19.