Microvasculature directed therapies for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancer
In many diseases, the endothelial cells lining the blood vessel walls play an important role in disease initiation, progression and / or maintenance. They are actively involved in the loss of vascular integrity in inflammation and angiogenesis, to continuously supply sufficient nutrients and oxygen to the sites of chronic inflammation and tumor growth. Furthermore, they facilitate leukocyte recruitment from the blood into inflamed tissues by expressing cell adhesion molecules, cytokines and chemokines.
The location of the endothelium in the body makes it easily accessible for (targeted) drugs administered via the systemic circulation. Moreover, the major hurdle that is generally experienced for drug targeting strategies aimed at cells beyond the vascular wall is eliminated by aiming at the endothelium.
The research carried out in the laboratory for Endothelial Biomedicine & Vascular Drug Targeting Research focuses on understanding organ specific, microvascular endothelial cell behaviour in (inflammatory) diseases and cancer, and on the development of therapeutic strategies to successfully interfere with endothelial cell dysfunction/engagement in diseases. In addition, the role of leukocyte activation in the inflammatory process is taken into account, as both endothelial cells and leukocytes exert an intricate interaction in the capillaries and postcapillary venules.