2021 Research Conference

Marina A. Dobrovolskaia, PhD, MBA, PMP, Director of Operations, Head of Immunology Section, NCL, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research sponsored by the National Cancer Institute

Dr. Dobrovolskaia is Laboratory co-Director, Director of Operations and the Head of Immunology Section at the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL). In her role as the Director of Operations, Dr. Dobrovolskaia leads the NCL operations to provide preclinical nanoparticle characterization services to the nanotechnology research community, advance the translation of promising nanotechnology concepts from bench to the clinic, and contribute to the education of the next generation of scientists in the field of preclinical development of nanotechnology-based products, the activities emphasized in the NCL mission.

She also directs the performance of Immunology, Client Relations and Administrative sections of the NCL. Closely integrated functioning of these sections plays a critical role in advancing the NCL’s key strategic goals, and in supporting the missions of the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. In her role as the Head of the Immunology Section, Dr. Dobrovolskaia leads a team conducting preclinical studies to monitor nanoparticles’ toxicity to the immune system both in vitro and in vivo using variety of immune function animal models.

Prior to joining the NCL, Dr. Dobrovolskaia worked as a Research Scientist in a GLP laboratory at PPD Development, Inc. in Richmond, VA, where she was responsible for the design, development and validation of bioanalytical ligand-binding assays to support pharmacokinetic and toxicity studies in a variety of drug development projects. She received her M.S. degree from the Kazan State University in Russia; Ph.D. from the N.N. Blokhin Cancer Research Center of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow, Russia; and MBA from the Hood College in Frederick, MD. Since 2016, she is also a member of the Project Management Institute and a certified Project Management Professional.

Lessons learned from the immunological characterization of nanoparticles at the NCL

Despite the sophistication and many therapeutic advantages, the clinicaltranslation of nanotechnology-formulated drug products is often complicated by the immunemediated toxicities. Cytokine storm, fever-like reactions, and complement activation are among the most common and best-studied acute dose-limiting toxicities.
Immunotoxicity due to the alteration in the immune system’s function, including but not limited to the immunosuppression and autoimmunity, take longer to develop and are less understood both in terms of the nanoparticle structure-activity relationship and methodologies appropriate for monitoring these toxicities.

This presentation will review existing and emerging biomarkers of nanoparticle immunotoxicity, propose
experimental strategies for improving our understanding of the immunological safety of nanomedicines and discuss future directions. Case studies of the role of nanoparticle physicochemical properties and their contribution to the
immunotoxicity will be used to support the proposed strategy.

Funded by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, under
contract 75N91019D00024