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The focus of our research is the development of novel agents for cancer treatment. Thereby, we focus on photosensitizers (PSs) for photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photothermal agents (PAs) for photothermal therapy (PTT).
PDT is a rather new therapeutic method for the treatment of a variety of premalignant and malignant diseases. After the administration of a PS to the patient, the tissue of interest is irradiated with light. The light excites the PS into its excited triplet state and upon intersystem crossing (ISC) reactive oxygen species (ROS) are generated while the PS relaxes back to its ground state. These locally-generated ROS then destroy the tissue of interest. The Spingler Group works with various PS classes.
Next to PSs for PDT, we are developing novel PAs for PTT. We work with BODIPY-based PAs and exploit their structural versatility in order to create novel agents for PTT. In contrast to PSs for PDT, PAs for PTT are not dependent on the generation of ROS to treat the tissue of interest, but locally convert the energy of the absorbed light to heat. This generated heat is then able to kill the cancer cells.
BODIPY-Based Photothermal Agents
We have published a tutorial about the single crystal growth of small molecules (see pictures with an example for the optimisation of crystallization by vapor diffusion below). Currently, we develop innovative methods of improving the crystallization of organic salt, which can also be used for the salt screening of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) or metal complexes. Furthermore we study DNA, RNA and protein molecules by crystallography.
Example from CrystEngComm, 2012, 14, 751