In basic research, Professor Barenholz's laboratory focuses on biochemistry and biophysics of lipids and membranes ― on the relationships between membrane lipid composition, structure (e.g., rafts), and function; on lipid mediated signal transduction; and on apoptosis. One of the main biological topics studied is the relevance of the above to aging processes.
In applied research, Professor Barenholz's main interests are in amphiphile-based drug carriers, especially liposomes: from basic aspects of design of the drug carriers through animal studies and clinical trials, and finally, FDA-approved drugs. This is best exemplified by the development of DOXIL (a doxorubicin remote-loaded sterically-stabilized ~100 nm liposome for treatment of cancer). DOXIL was approved for human use in the USA in 1996 and in Europe in 1997. It is extensively used to treat ovarian cancer and breast cancer, and currently is in the process of being approved for other types cancer.
Other topics include:
“Theoretical” and generic aspects of DDS (Drug Delivery Systems);
DDS QC methodologies;
DDS Cancer therapy (chemotherapy, immunotherapy) *[DOXIL 1996] (collaborator Professor Alberto Gabizon);
Vaccinology (intramuscular and intranasal liposomal vaccines);
especially against influenza: [Influsome Vac and NasVax, respectively] (collaborator Professor Eli Kedar), Hepatitis B vaccine;
Antioxidant design and therapy;
DDS-based infectious diseases therapy: antifungal [Amphotech 1996], antibiotics against osteomyelitis (collaborator Professor H. Bercovier);
Lipid-based signal transduction;
DDS for anti-inflammatory agents (rheumatic arthritis – collaborator Professor A. Naparstak);
DDS to treat neuro-degenerative diseases (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson – collaborator Dr. H. Ovadia);
DDS for pain management and local anesthetics [Bupisomes] – collaborator Professor Gil Grant, NYU
DDS for gene delivery (mostly basic);
Lipid-based assemblies for topical applications [amphotericin B against Leishmaniasis] (collaborator Dr. S. Frankenberg);
Pt complexes for cancer chemotherapy (collaborator Dr. Dan Gibson);
Liposomes for environmental and industrial applications.