Associated Lab Members
Dr. Vanessa Bellat is a chemistry instructor in the Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) Department of Radiology. In 2012, Dr. Bellat earned her doctorate in chemistry from the University of Burgundy, France. As a nanotechnology scientist, Dr. Bellat’s Ph.D. research focused on a new nanohybrid composed of titanate nanoribbons for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. After completing her doctorate, the University of Burgundy’s private valorization subsidiary, Welience, recruited Dr. Bellat as a research engineer. At Welience, she oversaw development of NanoCare, a new technological platform devoted to toxicological analysis of various industry-employed nanoparticles. In 2014, under the mentorship of Dr. Benedict Law, Dr. Bellat became a post-doctoral research associate with WCM’s Molecular Imaging Innovations Institute (MI3). At MI3, she focused on designing new drug carriers—nanomaterials, peptide-conjugates and others—to promote chemotherapeutic targeted delivery, tissue penetration, tumoral uptake and tumoral retention for cancer treatments. Dr. Bellat has pursued her academic career at WCM since 2020.
By developing smart nanomedicines, Dr. Vanessa Bellat aims to achieve more specific and effective cancer treatment drug delivery. One of her main objectives is improving the safety and efficacy of chemotherapeutic treatments by designing on-demand nanocarriers that display organ-specific targeting and/or retention properties.
Most nanoparticles used as cancer therapy drug-delivery platforms suffer from high off-target delivery and toxicity; poor tumoral penetration, accumulation and retention; limited drug-loading capacity; and incomplete on-site drug release (which not only leads to a depreciation of safety and therapeutic efficacy but also limits clinical translation). To overcome these challenges, the Bellat lab developed self-assembling peptide-based nanofibers (NFP) that use a combination of shape-controlled tumoral delivery, charge-assisted penetration, and an enzyme-induced drug retention approach to achieve a safer and more effective antitumor treatment. While NFP technology was originally designed for treating diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) and triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), the nanofibers have great potential as delivery platforms for cancer detection and treatment. Using the NFP’s design flexibility and engineerability, the lab can fine-tune its physicochemical properties, including the size (aspect ratio), shape, hydrophobicity and surface charges. In doing so, the lab can control the targeting ability and/or retention profile and incorporate multiple imaging molecules and cytotoxic agents for theranostic applications.
[LINK] to publications.
In this project, the lab designed a new nanofiber precursor (pNFP), a new generation of nanofibers with preferential lung-targeting and retention properties for treating pulmonary metastases. The nanofibers, which display a very high aspect ratio, can...
This project involves a proposal to use a small bio-inert peptide as an alternative strategy to intravesical chemotherapy (ITC) for improvement of bladder cancer treatment and survival outcomes. When using the peptide as a drug delivery platform,...