Felisa Cilurzo

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

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Publications (24)57.92 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The encapsulation of miR-34a into chitosan/PLGA nanoparticles in order to obtain nanoplexes useful for the modulation of the biopharmaceutical features of the active compound was studied. The nanoplexes were obtained through nanoprecipitation and were characterized by a mean diameter of ~160 nm, a good size distribution and a positive surface charge. The structure of the nanoparticles allowed a high level of entrapment efficiency of the miR-34a and provided protection of the genetic material from the effects of RNase. A high degree of transfection efficiency of the nanoplexes and a significant in vitro antitumor effect against multiple myeloma cells was demonstrated. The therapeutic properties of the nanoplexes were evaluated in vivo against human multiple myeloma xenografts in NOD-SCID mice. The systemic injection of miR-34a mimic-loaded nanoparticles significantly inhibited tumor growth and translated into improved survival of the laboratory mice. RT-PCR analysis carried out on retrieved tumors demonstrated the presence of a high concentration of miR-34a mimics. The integrity of the nanoplexes remained intact and no organ toxicity was observed in treated animals.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Scientific Reports
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    ABSTRACT: The ability of some surfactants to self-assemble in a water/oil bi-phase environment thus forming supramolecular structure leading to the formation of w/o/w multiple emulsions was investigated. The w/o/w multiple emulsions obtained by self-assembling (one-step preparation method) were compared with those prepared following the traditional two-step procedure. Methyl-nicotinate was used as a hydrophilic model drug. The formation of the multiple emulsion structure was evidenced by optical microscopy, which showed a mean size of the inner oil droplets of 6 μm and 10 μm for one-step and two-step multiple emulsions, respectively. The in vitro biopharmaceutical features of the various w/o/w multiple emulsion formulations were evaluated by means of viscosimetry studies, drug release and in vitro percutaneous permeation experiments through human stratum corneum and viable epidermis membranes. The self-assembled multiple emulsions allowed a more gradual percutaneous permeation (a zero-order permeation rate) than the two-step ones. The in vivo topical carrier properties of the two different multiple emulsions were evaluated on healthy human volunteers by using the spectrophotometry of reflectance, an in vivo non invasive method. These multiple emulsion systems were also compared with conventional emulsion formulations. Our findings demonstrated that the multiple emulsions obtained by self-assembling were able to provide a more sustained drug delivery into the skin and hence a longer therapeutic action than two-step multiple emulsions and conventional emulsion formulations. Finally, our findings showed that the supramolecular micro-assembly of multiple emulsions was able to influence not only the biopharmaceutical characteristics but also the potential in vivo therapeutic response.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Current Drug Targets
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    ABSTRACT: We report the synthesis of an oligomeric prodrug of the antiviral agent Acyclovir (Acy) conjugated to β-cyclodextrin (β-CyD). The drug was selectively linked through a succinic spacer to one of the primary hydroxyl groups of β-CyD by ester linkage in a 1:1 molar ratio. The conjugate was purified by semipreparative reverse-phase chromatography and characterized by FAB mass spectrometry and NMR experiments. The release of Acy from the conjugate was evaluated both in acidic and in neutral conditions and in the presence of porcine liver esterase. In all cases we observed the release of both free Acy and Acy succinate (AcySucc) at differing rates as a function of the hydrolysis conditions. In the presence of esterase the release of free Acy was favoured over AcySucc, showing a release rate of 100% of Acy within 7 days. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Carbohydrate Polymers
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Medicinal Chemistry
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Pharmaceutical Research
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    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics
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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.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Future Oncology
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013
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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.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery
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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.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Colloids and surfaces B: Biointerfaces
  • Donatella Paolino · Margherita Vono · Felisa Cilurzo

    No preview · Chapter · Jan 2013
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Journal of research in medical sciences
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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.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Journal of Controlled Release
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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.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · European journal of pharmaceutics and biopharmaceutics: official journal of Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Pharmazeutische Verfahrenstechnik e.V
  • D. Cosco · R. Molinaro · V.M. Morittu · F. Cilurzo · N. Costa · M. Fresta
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    ABSTRACT: The use of retinoids in antitumor therapy represents a very promising approach for the treatment of undifferentiated tumors, due to their ability to promote cell differentiation. Among these compounds, 9-cis-retinoic acid (9-cis-RA) is the most active. The therapeutic use of 9-cis-RA is made difficult by the occurrence of several side effects in addition to its photo-degradation following exposition to light or atmospheric oxygen. In this investigation, 9-cis-RA was encapsulated in PEG-coated PLGA nanoparticles to improve both its stability and effectiveness. PEG-coated PLGA nanoparticles showed a mean size of ∼220 nm, a polydispersity index of ∼0.1 and a zeta potential of -12 mV. These parameters were not significantly influenced by the presence of the 9-cis-RA. Encapsulation provided noticeable protection of the 9-cis-RA. In vitro experiments showed that the encapsulated form is more active than the free drug in inducing cell differentiation.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2011 · Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology
  • D Cosco · D Paolino · F Cilurzo · F Casale · M Fresta
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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.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · International Journal of Pharmaceutics
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Biomedical Microdevices