Inge Zuhorn

Title: Targeted Polymersomes for Drug Delivery to the Brain
Session: Tuesday 6 October, 11:30


The treatment of brain-related diseases is hampered by the poor delivery of medicines into the brain due to the presence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB selectively regulates the exchange of macromolecules, including medicines, between the circulation and the central nervous system. By exploiting an endogeneous brain transport mechanism, i.e. receptor-mediated transcytosis, a targeted nanocarrier (polymersome) was developed that effectively crosses the BBB and enters brain parenchyma. We show that the targeted polymersomes effectively cross an in vitro BBB model, as well as the BBB in vivo following intra-arterial and intravenous injections in mice. Further development of brain-targeted polymersomes focuses on the development of biodegradable polymersomes, inclusion of therapeutic agents, and evaluation of drug delivery efficiency in animal models of disease.






Inge Zuhorn is leading the research group ' Drug Targeting across Cellular Barriers', based in the Department of Cell Biology at the University Medical Center Groningen. She has over 10 year experience in the field of Non-Viral Drug/Gene Delivery, studying structure-function relationships of nanocarriers and mammalian cells. She obtained a PhD in Medical Sciences from the University of Groningen in 2002, for which she was awarded the Greiner Award, for the best thesis on gene therapy in the Netherlands (by the Dutch Society for Gene Therapy).
IZ's present research covers:

* unraveling the mechanisms of the endosomal escape of nanocarriers and their payloads;
* the design of targeted nanocarriers for drug delivery across brain endothelial cells.

In 2013, IZ obtained a Vidi grant (Carriers Break Barriers in Drug Delivery) to support her work on nanocarrier transcytosis across the BBB.



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