A trans-agency workshop on the blood-brain interface (BBI), sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Cancer Institute and the Combat Casualty Care Research Program at the Department of Defense, was conducted in Bethesda MD on June 7-8, 2016. The workshop was structured into four sessions: (1) blood sciences; (2) exosome therapeutics; (3) next generation in vitro blood-brain barrier (BBB) models; and (4) BBB delivery and targeting. The first day of the workshop focused on the physiology of the blood and neuro-vascular unit, blood or biofluid-based molecular markers, extracellular vesicles associated with brain injury, and how these entities can be employed to better evaluate injury states and/or deliver therapeutics. The second day of the workshop focused on technical advances in in vitro models, BBB manipulations and nanoparticle-based drug carrier designs, with the goal of improving drug delivery to the central nervous system. The presentations and discussions underscored the role of the BBI in brain injury, as well as the role of the BBB as both a limiting factor and a potential conduit for drug delivery to the brain. At the conclusion of the meeting, the participants discussed challenges and opportunities confronting BBI translational researchers. In particular, the participants recommended using BBI translational research to stimulate advances in diagnostics, as well as targeted delivery approaches for detection and therapy of both brain injury and disease.
Keywords: Blood–brain barrier; Cancer; Delivery; Exosomes; Extracellular vesicles; Neurodegeneration; Therapeutics; Traumatic brain injury.