Sofie Stalmans

sofie Contact info

Sofie Stalmans

Drug Quality and Registration (DruQuaR) group
Ottergemsesteenweg 460, 9000 Ghent (Belgium)

Phone: + 32 (0)9 264.80.99 (secr. 81.01)
Fax: + 32 (0)9 264.81.93



Ph.D. research

Title: To what extent do cell penetrating peptides selectively cross the blood-brain barrier?


Patients suffering from brain diseases, including brain tumors, neurological damage, pain, psychiatric conditions, dementia, cerebrovascular diseases and neurodegenerative disorders, outnumber those suffering from heart disease or systemic cancer. Yet, there are still only a relatively limited number of drugs available in medical practice. The situation is aggravated by their modest clinical efficacy. Still, some compounds do possess an intrinsic activity. However, as they cannot cross the tight barrier that separates the blood from the brain (blood-brain barrier, BBB), they are not useful as drugs. Our central question is whether cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) can cross this barrier and if so, at what rate, extent and brain-region selectivity.

To quantitatively answer this question, a limited number of CPPs will be first rationally selected which are representative for the whole class of hundreds of CPPs already available. The selected CPPs will be coupled to some molecular moieties, which have shown preference interaction with blood vessels in the brain and much less with the blood vessels elsewhere in the body. Different techniques will be applied to quantify the selective brain interaction and uptake in cell and mouse models, including time and space dimensions.

Keywords: blood-brain barrier, cell penetrating peptides