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Funding Extension for Project to Investigate Thermo-nanogels for Treatment of Skin Disease and Tumors

German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to Support Junior Research Group of Prof. Dr. Marcelo Calderón for Two Additional Years

№ 140/2017 from May 31, 2017

A research project based at Freie Universität Berlin to investigate the use of thermoresponsive nanogels for the treatment of skin diseases and tumors is being sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for an additional two years. By the end of 2019, the junior research group led by Professor Dr. Marcelo Calderón at the Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry will have received 3.16 million euros through the Ministry’s NanoMatFutur Award for Young Scientists to develop new nanotechnologies and materials technologies. During the first four years of funding, the scientists investigated the production of nanogels in different compositions and established synthesis methods. They identified substances that are suitable for further development. The group has published studies on initial successes in applying this work for cancer therapy.

During the first funding phase, the thermoresponsive nanogels were modified to allow accurate control over the temperature at which they begin to shrink. In particular, nanogels consisting of two semiinterpenetrated polymers with different functions show promise: the inner polymer can convert light from the near-infrared range into heat, which causes the scaffold polymer that responds to heat to shrink.

The researchers have demonstrated in experiments that this heat can kill cancer cells. Besides the polymers that can transform light to heat, the scientists were also able to develop other materials based on certain architectures of gold nanoparticles that can do the same thing.

These nanogels are suitable not only for the hyperthermia process, but also as active drug carriers. During the coming two years, the scientists plan to investigate them in combination with medicines that can be encapsulated in the nanogel and forced back out after shrinkage. In addition, the scientists are attempting to harness certain functional groups within the body for targeted transport to tumor cells.

Further Information

Prof. Dr. Marcelo Calderón, Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Freie Universität Berlin,
Tel.: +49 30 838-59368, Email: marcelo.calderon@fu-berlin.de