He will spend the EUR 2 million on developing two types of biodegradable factories:
Stents and particles
One of them is a new kind of stent which, among other things, is a term for the small metal meshes, which is operated into patients suffering from blockage of their coronary artery to keep it open after an angioplasty.
Alexander Zelikin's stents will be made of hydrogel instead of metal, because their primary purpose is not to keep a vein open, but to deliver medicine: the doctor injects a prodrug into the patient's vein, after which the enzymes in the stent convert it to, for example, a medicine against arteriosclerosis.
"The same enzymes will also be able to transform other sorts of prodrugs, so if one medicine doesn't work, you can switch to another without having to call the patient in for a new treatment," says Alexander Zelikin and continues:
"Metal stents coated with medicine are already in use - they just do not have the flexibility, that treatment which the enzymatic medicine factories have."
The second sort will consist of small particles, which initially can be used for the treatment of diseases such as cancer. The particles must be able to submit both medicine and for example contrast agents, so that they can be used simultaneously for treatment and diagnosis.
More specifically, the ERC grant will result in the employment of four PhD students and a postdoc.
The technology is pending patent and is being commercialised through Technology Transfer Office at Aarhus University.
|Contact: Alexander Zelikin|