Prof Tambet Teesalu receives prestigious grant to launch anticancer drug

In 2012, Tambet Teesalu won the European Research Council (ERC) starting grant for four years. His research project focused on developing an anticancer drug which, if injected into blood vessels, would find cancer cells and leave the healthy tissue unharmed. In order to turn scientific research into a real drug sold in pharmacies, usually a considerable amount of money is needed. The ERC has decided to support the Estonian scientists’ work and its way to production.

“The idea is to take the results of one of our unpublished research studies and protect its intellectual property rights,” explained Teesalu. “To make it from research study to clinical trials, which is the starting point for the drug to reach patients, first you have to get a provisional patent for your discovery. Then you will have a year to publish the research results in a scientific journal and move forward towards the patent. However, it all requires the support of consultants and experts and is quite expensive,” said Teesalu.

The recognition awarded to Teesalu – the proof of concept grant – will support investigating the innovation and market potential of the research results achieved in the course of the project that received the ERC starting grant in 2012.

A smart anticancer drug functions as follows: nanoparticles make it possible to convey the cancer drug to the precise spot which it should affect, i.e. the tumour. Such administration of the drug leaves the healthy tissue unharmed and also reduces the unpleasant side effects of cancer treatment. This makes both the diagnostics and the treatment significantly more precise.

Read more about Teesalu’s achievement and smart anticancer drugs on ERR Novaator.

Additional information: Tambet Teesalu, 5397 4441, tambet.teesalu@ut.ee

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