The Blood-Brain Barrier – a Gateway to the CNS ?
7 November 2023
Prof. Dr. Gert Fricker
Gert Fricker is Director at the Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Heidelberg University, Germany. After studying chemistry and medicine in Freiburg, Germany, and finishing his PhD (1986), he worked as Post-Doc at the Dept. Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland. 1988, he became research scientist at Sandoz Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland. 1995, G. Fricker was appoint-ted Professor at Heidelberg University; 2002 he became chair for Pharmaceutical Technology and Director of the Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology. In addition to his university affiliation, G. Fricker is head of the Steinbeis Technology Transfer Center Biopharmacy & Analytics, a service center for Pharma Industry, as well as cofounder of Heidelberg Delivery Technologies GmbH, HeiDelTec, a start-up company devoted to oral peptide delivery. Main research interests are permeation of drugs across barrier tissues as well as development of drug targeting systems by colloidal drug carriers.
Most drugs do not reach the central nervous system, because they are not able to cross the blood – brain barrier (BBB). The BBB is equipped with a battery of potent ABC (ATP binding cassette) export proteins recognizing a multitude of substrates and thus making effective drug delivery to the CNS extremely difficult. An introduction into the anatomical and functional features of the blood-brain barrier will be given with particular emphasis on these export proteins.
In addtion several technical strategies have been exploited to deliver drugs to the brain, e.g., the use of vector-coupled liposomes or surface modified and biologically degradable nanoparticles, which are promising due to their potential in encapsulating drugs, their ability to escape p-glycoprotein in the blood brain barrier and to target the brain. Examples of successful drug delivery will be shown and be explained in detail.