Cristina Muntean

CRIG member
Cristina Muntean

Doctoral fellow – Lab for General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy, Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UGent)
Principal investigator: Prof. Koen Raemdonck (PhD) 


Research focus

Lysosomotropic cationic amphiphilic drugs (CADs) can act as anti-cancer therapeutics by selectively inducing lysosomal cell death (LCD) through lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP), allowing treatment of apoptosis-resistant cancer types. However, the anti-tumoral effects of most CADs remain ill-investigated to date. Additionally, it is thought that the provoked LMP alone will not suffice in cancer therapy. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) displays excellent target specificity and can reach disease targets that were previously thought undruggable. Also messenger RNA (mRNA) is ideally suited to deliver genetic information to dividing and non-dividing cells in a safe and efficient way. Both RNA-based strategies are increasingly being adopted for anti-cancer therapy as well. Nevertheless, RNA drugs have to act inside cells and do not have optimal drug-like properties as the cell membrane is largely impermeable for this class of therapeutics. To unlock their full therapeutic potential, RNA drugs need to be formulated into nanomedicines that can guide their delivery into the target cell cytosol.
Therefore, the aim of my work is to design synergistic nanoformulations composed of lysosomotropic drugs and RNA therapeutics to optimize their anti-tumoral effect.

Contact & links

  • Lab address: Ottergemsesteenweg 460, 9000 Ghent 
  • Cristina Muntean is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks