Felisa Cilurzo

Universita' degli Studi "Magna Græcia" di Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Calabria, Italy

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Publications (17)38.79 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Novel PEGylated PLA nanocapsules (PEG-AcPLA nanocapsules), loading high percentage of water soluble drugs have been formulated by using multiple emulsion technique without using conventional stabilizers. In particular, sodium deoxycholate hydrate has been used to obtain nanocapsules having a mean diameter of about 200 nm and a polydispersity index of ∼0.1. Gemcitabine hydrochloride (GEM) was used as a model of hydrophilic drug. GEM-loaded PEG-AcPLA nanocapsules demonstrated a high encapsulation efficacy and the drug-release followed a zero-order kinetic. MTT-assay evidenced an increased antitumor effect of GEM-loaded PEG-AcPLA nanocapsules compared to the free drug on different cancer cell lines and confocal laser scanning microscopy showed a significant improvement of cell interaction at 6 h of incubation. In vivo anticancer activity of GEM-loaded PEG-AcPLA nanocapsules using two xenograft murine models of human solid tumors further supported the efficacy of this nano-drug, thus providing preliminary results about the potential clinical application of this innovative nanotherapeutic.
    European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Therapeutic guidelines indicate prostacyclin as the first line of treatment in inflammation and vascular diseases. Prostacyclins prevent formation of the platelet plug involved in primary hemostasis by inhibiting platelet activation and, combined with thromboxane, are effective vasodilators in vascular damage. Trans-Atlantic Inter-Society Consensus Document on Management of Peripheral Arterial Disease II guidelines indicates prostacyclins; in particular, Iloprost, as the first therapeutic option for treating peripheral arterial disease. However, therapeutic efficacy of Iloprost has witnessed several drawbacks that have occurred in patients receiving repeated weekly administration of the drug by intravenous infusions. Adverse reactions arose under perfusion with Iloprost for 6 h and patient compliance was drastically decreased. Biomedical devices could provide a suitable alternative to overcome these drawbacks. In particular, elastomeric pumps, filled with Iloprost isotonic solution, could slowly release the drug, thus decreasing its side effects, representing a valid alternative to hospitalization of patients affected by peripheral arterial disease. However, the home therapy treatment of patients requires long-term stability of Iloprost in solution-loaded elastomeric pumps. The aim of this work was to investigate the long-term stability of Iloprost isotonic solution in biomedical devices using Turbiscan technology. Turbiscan Lab Expert (L'Union, France) predicts the long-term stability of suspensions, emulsions and colloidal formulations by measuring back scattering and transmission of particulates dispersed in solution. The formulations were evaluated by measuring the variation of physicochemical properties of colloids and suspensions as a function of back scattering and transmission modifications. In addition, the release profile of Iloprost isotonic solution from the biomedical device was evaluated.
    Medicinal Chemistry 11/2014; · 1.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: To synthesize a new polymeric prodrug based on α,β-poly(N-2-hydroxyethyl)(2-aminoethylcarbamate)-d,l-aspartamide copolymer bearing amine groups in the side chain (PHEA-EDA), covalently linked to the anticancer drug doxorubicin and to test its potential application in anticancer therapy. METHODS: The drug was previously derivatized with a biocompatible and hydrophilic linker, leading to a doxorubicin derivative highly reactive with amino groups of PHEA-EDA. The PHEA-EDA-DOXO prodrug was characterized in terms of chemical stability. The pharmacokinetics, biodistribution and cytotoxicity of the product was investigated in vitro and in vivo on human breast cancer MCF-7 and T47D cell lines and NOD-SCID mice bearing a MCF-7 human breast carcinoma xenograft. Data collected were compared to those obtained using free doxorubicin. RESULTS: The final polymeric product is water soluble and easily hydrolysable in vivo, due to the presence of ester and amide bonds along the spacer between the drug and the polymeric backbone. In vitro tests showed a retarded cytotoxic effect on tumor cells, whereas a significant improvement of the in vivo antitumor activity of PHEA-EDA-DOXO and a survival advantage of the treated NOD-SCID mice was evidenced, compared to that of free doxorubicin. CONCLUSIONS: The features of the PHEA-EDA-DOXO provide a potential protection of the drug from the plasmatic enzymatic degradation and clearance, an improvement of the blood pharmacokinetic parameters and a suitable body biodistribution. The data collected support the promising rationale of the proposed macromolecular prodrug PHEA-EDA-DOXO for further potential development and application in the treatment of solid cancer diseases.
    Pharmaceutical research. 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains a major global health problem and Calabria in the south of Italy is not an exception. Sorafenib is the first and only Food and Drug Administration approved drug for the treatment of advanced HCC and it is currently under intensive monitoring by the Health Authorities in Italy Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco. This general report has been developed with the aim of briefly reviewing the data found in the reports of adverse reactions (ADRs) collected in Calabria in 2012 for sorafenib treated patients. Extrapolated data have highlighted some differences between the adverse drug reactions reported in patients younger or older than 70 years and other important differences with the current approved leaflet. Several limitations might be present in data analysis form spontaneous reporting, however, the relevance of reporting ADRs (dermatitis, asthenia, vomiting, etc.) for the early identification of drug related signals has to be underlined.
    Journal of pharmacology & pharmacotherapeutics. 12/2013; 4(Suppl1):S86-S89.
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    ABSTRACT: Currently, six liposomal chemotherapeutics have received clinical approval and many more are in clinical trials or undergoing preclinical evaluation. Liposomes exhibit low toxicity and improve the biopharmaceutical features and therapeutic index of drugs, thereby increasing efficacy and reducing side effects. In this review we discuss the advantages of using liposomes for the delivery of chemotherapeutics. Gemcitabine and paclitaxel have been chosen as examples to illustrate how the performance of a metabolically unstable or poorly water-soluble drug can be greatly improved by liposomal incorporation. We look at the beneficial effects of liposomes in a variety of solid and blood-borne tumors, including thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and multiple myeloma.
    Future Oncology 12/2013; 9(12):1849-59. · 3.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vaccines are administered to large population of healthy individuals, particularly to millions of infants every year, through national immunization programs. Although vaccines represent a good defense against some infectious diseases, their administration may be related with the development of adverse vaccine events (AVEs); therefore their use is continually monitored to detect these side effects. In the presents work, we reported the suspected AVEs recorded in 2012 in Calabria, Italy. We performed a retrospective study on report forms of patients that developed AVEs in Calabria from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012. Naranjo score was used to evaluate the association between AVEs and vaccines and only suspected AVEs definable as certain, probable, or possible were included in this analysis. During the study period, we evaluated 461 records of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and 18 (3.9%) were probably induced by vaccination. AVEs were common in females (almost 77.7%) and in children aged 0-3 years. The largest number of non-serious AVEs involved "skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders" and "general disorders and administration site conditions." In conclusion, we documented that in Calabria the total number of AVEs is very low and it may be useful to increase the pharmacovigilance culture in order to evaluate the safety of these products in large populations.
    Journal of pharmacology & pharmacotherapeutics. 12/2013; 4(Suppl1):S61-S65.
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Pharmacovigilance (PV) is designed to monitor drugs continuously after their commercialization, assessing and improving their safety profile. The main objective is to increase the spontaneous reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADRs), in order to have a wide variety of information. The Italian Drug Agency (Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco [AIFA]) is financing several projects to increase reporting. In Calabria, a PV information center has been created in 2010. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We obtained data using the database of the National Health Information System AIFA relatively to Italy and Calabria in the year 2012. Descriptive statistics were performed to analyze the ADRs. RESULTS: A total number of 461 ADRs have been reported in the year 2012 with an increase of 234% compared with 2011 (138 reports). Hospital doctors are the main source of this reporting (51.62%). Sorafenib (Nexavar(®)), the combination of amoxicillin/clavulanic acid and ketoprofen represent the drugs most frequently reported causing adverse reactions. Adverse events in female patients (61.83%) were more frequently reported, whereas the age groups "41-65" (39.07%) and "over 65" (27.9%) were the most affected. CONCLUSIONS: Calabria has had a positive increase in the number of ADRs reported, although it has not yet reached the gold standard set by World Health Organization (about 600 reports), the data have shown that PV culture is making inroads in this region and that PV projects stimulating and increasing PV knowledge are needed.
    Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics. 11/2013; 4(5):S55-60.
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Manipulating gene activity represents a promising approach for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. The relatively recent discovery of RNA interference (RNAi) revolutionized therapeutic approaches in this field. RNA effectors can now be used to modify the activity of genes and theoretically control any biological process. Area covered: However, the clinical application of RNAi has been limited by the inefficient delivery of RNA. Challenges associated with the in vivo use of RNAi mediators, include rapid degradation, uptake by the reticular endothelial system and inefficient cellular internalization. To date, various strategies have been developed in order to overcome these pitfalls. Among these approaches, non-viral delivery systems have gained increasing popularity, as they are generally considered safer than their viral counterparts. Expert opinion: The use of cationic polymers, especially polyethylenimine and chitosan, for the in vivo delivery of doubled-stranded RNAs is discussed in this review.
    Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery 10/2013; · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PLGA microspheres were prepared as a sustained release system for the intra-articular administration of celecoxib (CCB). The microspheres were prepared in the presence of different concentrations of dimethyl-β-cyclodextrin (DM-β-Cyd), by the simple oil-in-water emulsion/evaporation solvent method. The microspheres were evaluated as to surface morphology, size and technological properties (such as encapsulation efficiency, drug loading capacity and drug release). Ex vivo studies on cultures of human chondrocytes were performed in order to evaluate the influence of the polymeric carriers on the pharmacological activity of CCB. All systems ranged from about 1 to 5μm in size and had a high encapsulation efficiency percentage ranging from about 80% to 90% (w/w), except for CCB-loaded-PLGA microspheres containing the highest amount of DM-β-Cyd, in which a dramatic drop in the encapsulation efficiency was observed (about 54%, w/w). FIB images evidenced the fact that the microspheres had a porous structure in the presence of the highest amount of DM-β-Cyd. The macrocycle modulated the release profiles of CCB from the microspheres, producing in some cases a zero-order kinetic release. Ex vivo biological studies demonstrated that DM-β-Cyd improved the drug's anti-inflammatory activity. Thus, CCB-loaded PLGA/cyclodextrin microspheres may have a potential therapeutic application in the treatment of osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.
    Colloids and surfaces B: Biointerfaces 06/2013; 111C:289-296. · 4.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pharmacovigilance assesses the safety profile of drugs. Its main aim is the increase of spontaneous reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADRs). The Italian Drug Agency (AIFA; Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco) is financing several projects to the aim of increasing reporting, and in Calabria a Pharmacovigilance Information Centre has been created. We analyzed the AIFA database relatively to Calabria in the year 2011 and we have analyzed ADRs using descriptive statistics. We have also collected a questionnaire-based interview in order to describe the background knowledge in the field. Regarding the number of AIFA reported ADRs from Calabria, a 38% increase (138 vs. 100) in comparison to 2010 was evidenced. Hospital Doctors represent the main source of signaling (71.7 %). Ketoprofene and the combination amoxicillin/clavulanic acid represent the most frequently reported drugs causing ADRs. Our questionnaires indicated that despite the health professionals have met at least once an ADR only a small percentage of them was reported to the authorities (37%). There is a very good knowledge of the ADR concept and reporting system (90% of interviewed distinguish an ADR and knows how to report it), and there is a strong interest in participating to training courses in the field (95% are interested). Despite Calabria has had a positive increase in the number of reported ADRs, the total number is very low and the pharmacovigilance culture is far from being achieved in this region.
    Journal of research in medical sciences 09/2012; 17(9):872-5. · 0.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The potentiality of ultradeformable vesicles as a possible topical delivery system for asiaticoside, a natural compound obtained from Centella asiatica was evaluated, because this compound exhibits collagen biosynthesis promoting activity. Ultradeformable vesicles were prepared by the extrusion technique; these vesicles were composed of Phospholipon 100 and different molar fractions of sodium cholate as the edge activator. The physicochemical properties of the ultradeformable vesicles were investigated through differential scanning calorimetry and light scattering techniques. The potential cyctotoxicity and biological activity of asiaticoside-loaded ultradeformable vesicles were evaluated on primary human dermal fibroblast cells by determining the extracellular lactic dehydrogenase activity, the cellular viability and the biosynthetic production of collagen. In vitro permeation experiments through human stratum corneum and epidermis membranes were also carried out. Ultradeformable vesicles having sodium cholate molar fraction of 0.2 proved to be the most suitable topical carriers for asiaticoside. A sodium cholate content of >0.2 was observed to be cytotoxic probably due to its co-existence with other lipid aggregates, an example being mixed micelles. Asiaticoside-loaded ultradeformable vesicles with a sodium cholate molar fraction of 0.2 elicited the greatest degree of collagen biosynthesis in human fibroblasts. Ultradeformable vesicles provided the greatest in vitro skin permeation of asiaticoside showing a 10-fold increase with respect to the free drug solution and favoured an increase in in vivo collagen biosynthesis. Ultradeformable vesicles are therefore suitable carriers for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic application of the natural agent asiaticoside.
    Journal of Controlled Release 06/2012; 162(1):143-51. · 7.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Topical application of anticancer drugs for the treatment of malignancies represents a new challenge in dermatology, potentially being an alternative therapeutic approach for the efficacious treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer, that is, actinic keratoses, and malignant lesions of the skin caused by ultraviolet radiation. Anti-proliferative and antimitotic drugs, including many of the taxanes, are currently under investigation for the treatment of cutaneous malignant transformation of actinic keratoses, particularly the squamous cell carcinoma. Paclitaxel-loaded ethosomes® are proposed as topical drug delivery systems for the treatment of this pathology due to their suitable physicochemical characteristics and enhanced skin penetration ability for deep dermal delivery. Our in vitro data show that the skin application of paclitaxel-loaded ethosomes® improved the permeation of paclitaxel in a stratum corneum-epidermis membrane model and increased its anti-proliferative activity in a squamous cell carcinoma model as compared to the free drug. The results obtained encouraged the use of the paclitaxel-loaded ethosomes® as the formulation for the potential treatment of squamous cell carcinoma, a malignant transformation of actinic keratoses.
    European journal of pharmaceutics and biopharmaceutics: official journal of Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Pharmazeutische Verfahrenstechnik e.V 03/2012; 81(1):102-12. · 3.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The effects of a lipid composition on the physico-chemical and technological properties of a multidrug carrier (MDC) containing both gemcitabine (GEM) and tamoxifen (TMX), as well as its in vitro antitumoral activity on different breast cancer cell lines, were investigated. In particular, the following three different liposomal formulations were prepared: DPPC/Chol/DSPE-mPEG2000 (6:3:1 molar ratio, formulation A), DPPC/Chol/DOTAP (6:3:1 molar ratio, formulation B) and DPPC/Chol/DPPG (6:3:1 molar ratio, formulation C). The colloidal systems were obtained by the TLE technique and the extrusion process allowed us to obtain vesicles having mean sizes of 150-200 nm, while the surface charges varied between 50 mV and -30 mV. Formulation A showed the best encapsulation efficiency between the two compounds and the presence of TMX influenced the release profile of GEM (hydrophilic compound) as a consequence of its effect on the fluidity of the bilayer. An MDC of formulation A was used to effectuate the in vitro cytotoxicity experiments (MTT-test) on MCF-7 and T47D cells. The liposomal MDC provided the best results with respect to the single drug tested in the free form or entrapped in the same liposomal formulation. The CLSM experiments showed a great degree of cell interaction of liposomal MDC after just 6h.
    International Journal of Pharmaceutics 11/2011; 422(1-2):229-37. · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two vesicular colloidal carriers, ethosomes® and transfersomes® were proposed for the topical delivery of linoleic acid, an active compound used in the therapeutic treatment of hyperpigmentation disorders, i.e. melasma, which is characterized by an increase of the melanin production in the epidermis. Dynamic light scattering was used for the physicochemical characterization of vesicles and mean size, size distribution and zeta potential were evaluated. The stability of formulations was also evaluated using the Turbiscan Lab® Expert based on the analysis of sample transmittance and photon backscattering. Ethosomes® and transfersomes® were prepared using Phospholipon 100 G®, as the lecithin component, and ethanol and sodium cholate, as edge activator agents, respectively. Linoleic acid at 0.05% and 0.1% (w/v) was used as the active ingredient and entrapped in colloidal vesicles. Technological parameters, i.e. entrapment efficacy, drug release and permeation profiles, were also investigated. Experimental findings showed that physicochemical and technological features of ethosomes® and transfersomes® were influenced by the lipid composition of the carriers. The percutaneous permeation experiments of linoleic acid-loaded ethosomes® and transfersomes® through human stratum corneum-epidermidis membranes showed that both carriers are accumulated in the skin membrane model as a function of their lipid compositions. The findings reported in this investigation showed that both vesicular carriers could represent a potential system for the topical treatment of hyperpigmentation disorders.
    Biomedical Microdevices 09/2011; 14(1):119-30. · 2.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this investigation was to explore the potentiality of a novel animal model to be used for the in vivo evaluation of the ability of a drug delivery system to promote the passage through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and/or to improve the brain localization of a bioactive compound. A Tween 80-coated poly-L-lactid acid nanoparticles was used as a model of colloidal drug delivery system, able to trespass the BBB. Tacrine, administered in LiCl pre-treated rats, induces electrocorticographic seizures and delayed hippocampal damage. The toxic effects of tacrine-loaded poly-L-lactid acid nanoparticles (5mg/kg), a saline solution of tacrine (5mg/kg) and an empty colloidal nanoparticle suspension were compared following i.p. administration in LiCl-pre-treated Wistar rats. All the animals treated with tacrine-loaded nanoparticles showed an earlier outcome of CNS adverse symptoms, i.e. epileptic onset, with respect to those animals treated with the free compound (10 min vs. 22 min respectively). In addition, tacrine-loaded nanoparticles administration induced damage of neuronal cells in CA1 field of the hippocampus in all treated animals, while the saline solution of tacrine only in 60% of animals. Empty nanoparticles provided similar results to control (saline-treated) group of animals. In conclusion, the evaluation of time-to-onset of symptoms and the severity of neurodegenerative processes induced by the tacrine-lithium model of epilepsy in the rat, could be used to evaluate preliminarily the capability of a drug delivery system to trespass (or not) the BBB in vivo.
    Neuroscience Letters 11/2009; 469(1):93-6. · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The skin is the largest organ of our body and acts as a protective barrier with sensory and immunological functions. Its peculiar structure influences the passage of bioactives and only its modulation can facilitate the drug dermal/transdermal diffusion. In the past few years research in this field has assured better use of this application area. One of the most promising approaches is the use of drug delivery devices; this review explains the state of the art of drug transport through the skin by means of vesicular (classic liposomes, Transfersomes, niosomes and ethosomes) and particulate systems. Colloidal drug delivery systems are important in the field of drug delivery systems as their different characteristics make them suitable for various purposes.
    Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery 08/2008; 5(7):737-55. · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The use of natural compounds has recently been reconsidered in modern clinical practice. A further advancement of these compounds is represented by the possibility of using innovative drug delivery systems that can improve the biopharmaceutical features of the delivered compounds. This review examines the recent developments in the field of delivery of natural drugs belonging to several therapeutic classes. In particular, the examined therapeutic classes are: antitumoral drugs, i.e. paclitaxel, doxorubicin, tea catechins and hypericin; anti-infective drugs, i.e. Melaleuca alternifolia and Artemisia arborescens L.; and antinflammatory/antioxidant drugs, i.e. cannabinoids and glycyrrhizinates used for topical application. In this review we highlight the utility of a suitable drug delivery system to improve the biopharmaceutical aspects of these drugs. The examined carriers are: vesicular carriers (liposomes, Ethosomes®, ultradeformable liposomes), nano- and microparticles, innovative gels, microemulsions.
    Current Bioactive Compounds 11/2007; 3(4):262-277.