Graduate School Of Pharmaceutical Sciences Post-Doctoral Research Associate Earns A Special Distinction For AAPS Conference

Anisha DsouzaAnisha Dsouza, a postdoctoral research associate in the Manickam Lab of Biotherapeutics Delivery in the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy and Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, has been selected as one of the six panelists for a virtual live discussion on Gene Therapy and Drug Delivery during the 2020 AAPS PharmSci 360. Her poster entitled Extracellular Vesicles for the Delivery of Neurotrophin DNA to Brain Endothelial Cells has been selected for the Special Poster Collection by a committee led by Dr. Annette Bak, Ph.D., MBA, Head of Advanced Drug Delivery, AstraZeneca, AAPS Board of Directors and Dr. Erica Schlesinger, Director, R&D at Serán Bioscience, Inc.

"The selection of this work for the best poster collection by the committee of experts for the internationally-acclaimed American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2020 PharmSci 360 to be held from Oct. 26 through Nov. 5 2020 encourages me to explore the potential of these natural biocarriers as delivery vehicles in various disorders," Dsouza said.

Extracellular vesicles are naturally secreted by cells and play key roles in cell-to-cell communication. These natural, nano-sized vesicles have immense potential as drug carriers because they also contain a rich cocktail of bioactive cargo that can be exploited for unique benefits. This fueled our interest in exploring these vesicles as delivery vehicles for biological drugs and to effectively harness their natural cargo. Our goal is to engineer these vesicles for the delivery of plasmid DNA encoding for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to brain endothelial cells. During an ischemic stroke the brain expresses low levels of BDNF causing cell death and brain damage. The brain endothelial cells are one of the critical components in the neurovascular unit that is known to play a key role in brain homeostasis and also secretes BDNF to enable neuroprotection. We compared the abilities of engineered extracellular vesicles derived from two different cell types: brain endothelial cells and macrophages (the immune cells that infiltrate into the brain tissue during stroke) for the delivery of BDNF plasmid DNA to brain endothelial cells.

Manickam Lab

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