I am currently participating in the Descience competition, where designers create a runway look inspired by a scientist’s research. I am partnered with Georgia Charkoftaki, a postdoc at the University of Colorado Denver. Our design represents Dr. Charkoftaki’s novel targeted drug delivery strategy for fighting the kidney disease, lupus nephritis. The dress shows 4 classes of the disease, the nephron (the kidney substructure that is affected by the disease) and side-effects from current drug treatments. The jewelry represents the new strategy which houses drugs and deposits them at specific sites to improve treatment efficacy and limit off-target toxicities.
The top part of the dress represents four phases of the disease lupus nephritis. Each bead represents the spherical glomerulus, which is the sub-structure within the nephron that the disease affects.
The bottom part of the dress shows progressive cellular injury of the proximal tubule, which is “downstream” from the glomerulus. These cells are highly susceptible to both drug-induced injury and injury from acute or chronic kidney diseases.
Cutouts show where the kidney is located. The shape of the nephron (the basic structural and functional unit of the kidney) is shown above the cutouts.
The jewelry represents the new therapeutic approach. With this approach, scientists design a nano-particle (a liposome) that serves as a delivery vehicle, which contains the drug.
The vehicle protects the drug and delivers it to the targeted structures in the kidney, bypassing all other tissues. The liposome is shaped like a sphere, with a hollow core. The “Y” shaped ligand recognizes a protein of the targeted cell only, and bypasses other cells.
The different sized jewelry represent how scientists use the size of the liposome to control the release rate of the drug.
The Science – Lupus Nephritis and Targeted Drug Delivery