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Seminar Series: In Vitro Models in Blood-Brain Barrier Research: Current and Novel Technologies

Dr. Luca Cucullo, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
8:30 a.m.
River Campus, Robert B. Goergen Hall, Sloan Auditorium (Room 101)

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) maintains the brain homeostasis and dynamically responds to events associated with systemic and/or rheological impairments (e.g., inflammation, ischemia) including the exposure to harmful xenobiotics. Understanding the BBB physiology is therefore crucial for the resolution of major disorders of the central nervous system (CNS), challenging both health care providers and the pharmaceutical industry. These challenges include drug delivery to the brain, neurological disorders, toxicological studies, and biodefense. Studies aimed at advancing our understanding of CNS diseases and promoting the development of more effective therapeutics are primarily performed in laboratory animals. However, there are major hindering factors inherent to in vivo studies such as cost, limited throughput and translational significance to humans. These factors promoted the development of alternative in vitro strategies for studying the physiology and pathophysiology of the BBB in relation to brain disorders as well as screening tools to aid in the development of novel CNS drugs. Thus the scope of this seminar is to provide an overview (including pros and cons) of current and prospective technologies for modelling the BBB in vitro including static and dynamic (flow-capable) platforms.