November 9th 2015 – Moe Wehbe, BC Cancer (UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences)

Moe WehbeMy name is Moe Wehbe and I’m a 4th graduate student at the University of British Columbia doing research out of the BC Cancer agency in Pharmaceutical sciences. My goal is to create lipid nanoparticles for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive and common type of primary brain tumour. The human brain is naturally shielded from the rest of the body through the blood brain barrier. Although, this is important to keep us healthy it provides a unique barrier that needs to be overcome when trying to treat brain tumours. GBM is commonly treated with a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Many chemotherapeutics are unable to reach the tumour due to this barrier, this makes treatment difficult. Cancer treatment through chemotherapy is often given as a combination of drugs, GBM cannot be treated this way due to the insufficient number of drugs able to enter the brain and reach the tumour. Thus, I would like to increase the number of drugs available to treat GBM. My hypothesis is that for drugs that have some propensity to cross the BBB, increasing circulation lifetime should increase the amount of drug accumulated in the tumour site. Increasing drug circulation lifetime can be achieved through encapsulation by liposomes. The alteration in drug pharmacokinetics has been well documented with different liposome formulations created using a variety of lipid compositions. The model drug I’m using for this work is Carboplatin which does show some propensity to cross the blood brain barrier and the ability to kill GBM cells. An important aspect in my approach to drug formulation development is to ensure that everything I do is scaleable to larger batches. This is a necessity to have what we do in the lab translatable to larger batches and eventually the clinic. For this reason, the formulations themselves remain very simple using a passive equilibration to achieve high and efficient loading in the liposomes themselves. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have on lipid based drug delivery, challenges associated with brain delivery and drug pharmacokinetics.

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