Development of a Liposomal Drug Delivery System for the Treatment of Lymphatic Filariasis

Level of Education of Students Involved


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Lauren Sestito





Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-27-2023


Lymphatic filariasis is a neglected tropical disease caused by the transmission of parasitic nematodes via mosquito blood meal. The disease originates with microfilariae infiltrating the bloodstream and maturing. As the life cycle of the nematodes progresses, they make their permanent residence inside of the lymphatic system. This causes severe, permanent damage to the system and results in symptoms such as lymphedema and elephantiasis. While several drugs have antiparasitic activity, systemic administration of small molecule drugs yields poor lymphatic access and thus poor efficacy against adult worms within lymphatic vessels. Therefore, the goal of this research is to develop an oral liposomal drug delivery system (DDS) to deliver both hydrophilic and hydrophobic anti-parasitic medications to the lymphatic system to eliminate the filarial worms inhabiting it. Liposomes composed of phosphatidylcholine and cholesterol were synthesized using the thin-film hydration method. The liposomes were then downsized using different combinations of stirring, bath sonication, and extrusion using a syringe and a 0.22 micron hydrophilic filter. Particle size was characterized after downsizing using a Horiba LA960 Static Light Scattering (SLS) device. Additionally, solubility testing was performed to evaluate the DDS’ drug loading capabilities. This project lays the groundwork for future investigations of drug loading and release using this liposomal platform.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Evan S. Annis is a Biomedical Engineering major at Valparaiso University, where he will also be minoring in Chemistry. He is extremely interested in how engineering and chemistry can be intertwined to create pharmaceuticals and drug delivery systems to help individuals suffering from diseases and infections that currently have inefficient treatments or no cures at all. Outside of academia, Evan plays football at VU and enjoys spending time with his dog outdoors.

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