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    Young Min Kwon, Ph.D.
     Research Fellow

Email: ymkwonATumich.edu
     Phone: (734) 647-9708

     Ph.D. Pharmaceutics and Pharm. Chem., University of Utah, 2003
B.S. Chemistry, Oregon State University, 1997

Research Activities:

Topic Area: Red Blood Cells as Drug Carriers, Drug Delivery with LMWP

My research interest includes 1) Design of bioconjugates for tumor targeting and therapy 2) PEGylation of proteins and 3) polymeric drug delivery systems. Bioconjugate chemistry techniques would be keys to constructing some of those systems.

Solid tumor targeting

Solid tumors possess a well-documented feature of leaky vasculature and poor lymphatic drainage. This leads to the so-called enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect, meaning that macromolecular or particulate drug carriers may accumulate in tumor tissues. This can be viewed as a passive targeting. In addition, depending on the targeting moiety, an 'active' targeting component may be introduced such as magnetic field, tumor-specific moiety, or vascular targeting moiety. A number of delivery systems to solid tumors are currently being studied including magnetic nanoparticles and poly (rotaxane) based bioconjugates.

Diffuse tumor targeting

In treating diffuse tumors, such as certain types of leukemia and lymphoma, targeting is based on systemic treatment or specific cell-surface antigen (chemotherapeutic drugs as well as monoclonal antibodies) as those tumors do not necessarily form solid mass. Tumor cells relying on the host's L-asparagine supply may be treated with L-asparaginase enzyme. Since the enzyme is of bacterial or plant origin, it must be protected from the host's immune surveillance. This can be achieved by encapsulating the enzyme into red blood cells, the nature's longest circulating vehicles. Another approach is to take a strategy similar to ADEPT (Antibody-Directed Enzyme Prodrug Therapy) for specific lymphoma targeting of macromolecular cytotoxic entities using human tumor xenografts in athymic mice. Hopefully, through localized antitumor activity, this strategy could eventually help lower the effective dose and toxicity from currently existing drug therapy modalities.

PEGylation of Enzymes

Newly discovered, potentially therapeutic enzymes may need to be conjugated with poly (ethylene glycol) (PEG) to increase duration of action and reduce undesirable hypersensitivity, as most of those enzymes are heterologous. In collaboration with the U of M pharmacology department, pegylation of cocaine esterase (cocE), which is by far the most potent cocaine hydrolyzing enzyme to reverse acute toxicity from cocaine overdose, is currently under way.


J.-S. Park, Y.-B. Lim, Y.-M. Kwon, B. Jeong, Y. H. Choi, S. W. Kim, ''Liposome Fusion Induced by pH-Sensitive Copolymer: Poly(4-Vinylpyridine-co-N, N'-Diethylaminoethyl Methacrylate),'' J. Poly. Sci. :Pt A, 37, 2305-2309 (1999).

M. Lee, J.W. Nah, Y. Kwon, J. J. Koh, K. S. Ko, and S. W. Kim, ''Water-Soluble and Low Molecular Weight Chitosan-Based Plasmid DNA Delivery,'' Pharmaceutical Research, 18, 427-431 (2001).

Y. M. Kwon, M. Baudys, K. Knutson, and S. W. Kim''Insulin Aggregation induced by water / organic solvent interface,'' Pharm. Res., 18, 1754-1759 (2001).

Z. Zhong, P. J. Dijkstra, and J. Feijen, and Y. M. Kwon, Y. H. Bae and S. W. Kim ''Synthesis and aqueous phase behavior of thermoresponsive biodegradable poly(D,L-3-methyl glycolide)-b-poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(D,L-3-methyl glycolide) triblock copolymers'' Macromol. Chem. Phys. 203, 1790-1796 (2002).

Y. M. Kwon and S. W. Kim ''New Biodegradable Polymers for Delivery of Bioactive Agents'' Macromolecular Symposia 201, 179-186 (2003).

Y. M. Kwon and S. W. Kim ''Biodegradable Triblock Copolymer Microspheres Based on Thermosensitive Sol-Gel Transition'' Pharm. Res. 21, 339-343 (2004).

Y. M. Kwon and S. W. Kim. Thermosensitive biodegradable polymers for the delivery of therapeutic agents. In G. S. Kwon (ed.), Polymeric Drug Delivery Systems, Marcel Dekker, New York (2005)


J. L. Fox, J. Hsu, Y. M. Kwon, Z. Wang, A. Chhettry, A. A. Baig, H. Zhuang, M. Otsuka and W. I. Higuchi, ''Influence of Solution Carbonate Ion of the MES of CAP, '' J. Dent. Res., 75, 58 (IADR Abstract) (1996)

Y. Kwon, M. Baudys, K. Knutson, and S. W. Kim, ''Insulin Aggregation due to an Organic Solvent: Turbidity Measurements Near a w/o Interface,'' AAPS PharmSci Suppl., vol. 1, no. 4, #3707 (AAPS abstract) (November 14-18, 1999, New Orleans, LA)

Y.-M. Kwon, M. Baudys, K. Knutson, and  S. W. Kim ''Insulin Aggregation induced by water / organic solvent interface in the design of biodegradable microspheres,'' GPEN 2000 abstract p. 107 (September 13-15, 2000. Uppsala, Sweden). 

Y. M. Kwon, Y. H. Bae and S. W. Kim ''Preparation of microspheres using biodegradable triblock copolymer via thermosensitive sol-gel transition,'' Proc. Int. Symp. Control. Rel. Bioact. Mater. 28, 1003-4 (2001).

Y. M. Kwon and S. W. Kim ''Release of insulin from biodegradable and thermosensitive triblock copolymer microspheres,'' Proc. Int. Symp. Control. Rel. Bioact. Mater. 29,  # 683 (2002).

Y. M. Kwon and S. W. Kim ''Aqueous-based nanoparticles from thermosensitive, biodegradable triblock copolymer'' AAPS abstract (2003).

V. C. Yang, Y. M. Kwon, B. Chertok, and Y. J. Park ''Novel Approach for Simultaneous MR imaging and protein transduction therapy for breast cancers'' Proceedings of DOD Breast Cancer Research Program Meeting, p 479 (2005).

V. C. Yang, Y. M. Kwon , Y. J. Park ''Application of Peptide in Tissue Engineering and Drug Delivery System: From ''Attempts'' Approach to PTD-mediated Cellular Delivery'' IBEC & KSBM Proceedings: The 7th International Symposium on Peptides and Biomaterials for Tissue Regeneration, 5-9 (2005).

Brief Biography:

Young Min was born in Seoul, Korea and immigrated to US in 1993. He is married and has a daughter (2.5 years old). Other than drug delivery research, he also participates in the games of golf and tennis, etc.