Tambet Teesalu

Tambet Teesalu

In a collaborative study “Peptide-guided nanoparticles for glioblastoma targeting” published in Journal of Controlled Release we evaluated a novel tumor penetrating peptide that targets cell surface p32, LinTT1 (AKRGARSTA), as a GBM targeting ligand for systemically-administered nanoparticles. LinTT1-functionalization increased tumor homing of iron oxide nanoworms (NWs) across a panel of five GBM models ranging from infiltratively-disseminating to angiogenic phenotypes. LinTT1-NWs homed to CD31-positive tumor blood vessels, including to transdifferentiated endothelial cells, and showed co-localization with tumor macrophages and lymphatic vessels. LinTT1-guided proapoptotic NWs exerted strong anti-glioma activity in two models of GBM, including doubling the lifespan of the mice in an aggressive orthotopic stem cell-like GBM that recapitulates the histological hallmarks of human GBM.

Lead authors of this exciting and potentially translationally relevant study were Pille Säälik and Prakash Lingasamy (both Laboratory of Cancer Biology). This work was performed in collaboration with the Department of Neurosurgery of Tartu University Clinics, team of Dr. Dinorah Friedmann-Morvinski at Tel Aviv University, and Prof. Rolf Bjerkvig at the University of Bergen.

Link to the abstract of the paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31255690

Säälik P, Lingasamy P, Toome K, Mastandrea I, Rousso-Noori L, Tobi A, Simón-Gracia L, Hunt H, Paiste P, Kotamraju VR, Bergers G, Asser T, Rätsep T, Ruoslahti E, Bjerkvig R, Friedmann-Morvinski D, Teesalu T.
J Control Release. 2019 Jun 27. pii: S0168-3659(19)30328-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2019.06.018. [Epub ahead of print].

Karolczak-Bayatti M, Forbes K, Horn J, Teesalu T, Harris LK, Westwood M, Aplin JD.
Nanoscale. 2019 Jun 27;11(25):12285-12295. doi: 10.1039/c8nr10337b.

Asciutto EK, Kopanchuk S, Lepland A, Simón-Gracia L, Aleman C, Teesalu T, Scodeller P
J Phys Chem B, 2019 Mar 7;123(9):1973-1982. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.8b11876. Epub 2019 Feb 27.

Hussain S, Joo J, Kang J, Kim B, Braun GB, She ZG, Kim D, Mann AP, Mölder T, Teesalu T, Carnazza S, Guglielmino S, Sailor MJ, Ruoslahti E..
Nat Biomed Eng. 2018 Feb;2(2):95-103. doi: 10.1038/s41551-017-0187-5. Epub 2018 Jan 22.

Prof. Tambet Teesalu gave an inaugural lecture entitled “Nanomedicine: big opportunities in a small world” in the main hall of the University of Tartu on 14.05.2019.

This establishment of a professorship in nanomedicine at the University of Tartu underlines the importance that the University attributes to this exponentially growing interdisciplinary field of medicine.


Hedi Hunt successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis "Precision targeting of intraperitoneal tumors with peptide-guided nanocarriers" on April 18th, 2019. Her thesis dealt with the development of peptide-guided nanoparticles for therapy and imaging of peritoneal carcinomatosis. We wish Hedi good luck in her future career!




Image: Hedi Hunt and her opponent Professor Pirjo Laakkonen PhD of the University of Helsinki (Finland) during the thesis discussion.

We look for talented M.Sc. and PhD candidates (molecular medicine, cancer biology, drug delivery, nanomedicine) to join our lab in fall 2019.

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Polymersomes targeted with an M2 macrophage binding peptide (green) identified in our lab using phage display bind to and are taken up by M2s (red) originated from human primary monocytes. Scale bar 10µm. Authors: Anni Lepland, Pablo Scodeller, Lorena Simon Gracia

Dr. Teesalu has given a series of invited talks on international conferences in Europe and in the US: The 4th Brain Tumors Conference 2018: From Biology to Therapy ( June 21-23, 2018, Warsaw, Poland), Frontiers in Delivery of Therapeutics (August 21-23 2018, Tartu, Estonia), 11th European and Global Summit for Clinical Nanomedicine, Targeted Delivery and Precision Medicine, „The Building Blocks to Personalized Medicine“ (September 2 ‐ 5, 2018, Basel Switzerland), Boulder Peptide Symposium (September 24-27, 2018, Boulder, USA), workshop on self assembly and hierarchical materials in biomedicine: drug delivery, tissue engineering, sensing and safety (October 8 – 10, 2018, San Sebastián, Spain). The mission of the talks was to increase the awareness of nanomedicine and drug delivery community on the tumor homing peptides developed at our laboratory and establish new collaborations.

Dr. Teesalu (left) with Dr. Sergio Moya (the organizer of the workshop on self assembly and hierarchical materials in biomedicine in San Sebastián, Spain

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