Tambet Teesalu

Tambet Teesalu

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.

Apply now: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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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

Polymersomes targeted with an M2 macrophage binding peptide (green) identified in our lab using phage display home to M2 TAMs (red) after intravenous administration in a mouse model of triple negative breast cancer. Scale bar 20µm. Authors: Anni Lepland, Pablo Scodeller, Lorena Simon Gracia

Simón-Gracia L, Hunt H, Teesalu T..
Molecules. 2018 May 16;23(5). pii: E1190. doi: 10.3390/molecules23051190. Review.

Simón-Gracia L, Scodeller P, Fuentes SS, Vallejo VG, Ríos X, San Sebastián E, Sidorenko V, Di Silvio D, Suck M, De Lorenzi F, Rizzo LY, von Stillfried S, Kilk K, Lammers T, Moya SE, Teesalu T.
Oncotarget. 2018 Apr 10;9(27):18682-18697. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.24588. eCollection 2018 Apr 10.

Wonder E, Simón-Gracia L, Scodeller P, Majzoub RN, Kotamraju VR, Ewert KK, Teesalu T, Safinya CR.
Biomaterials. 2018 Jun;166:52-63. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.02.052. Epub 2018 Mar 2.

We have designed new nanoparticles that detect small breast tumors using the clinically used medical imaging modality Positron Emission Tomography (PET).

The particles are polymeric vesicles (polymersomes) made from biocompatible components polyethyleneglycol (PEG) and polycaprolactone (PCL). We found that functionalization with a tumor penetrating peptide discovered in our group ("LinTT1") boosted the accumulation of the particles in the tumor to allow sensitive detection of breast tumors modeled in mice. The polymersomes used in the study are versatile carriers that can be loaded with chemotherapeutic agents to make the drugs more selective and decrease side effects.

This work was performed in collaboration with the group of Dr. Sergio Moya at the Center of Cooperative Investigation in Biomaterials (CIC BiomaGUNE) in San Sebastian (Spain) and group of Prof. Twan Lammers of RWTH Aachen University, Aachen (Germany).


Image caption:PET images taken 48hours after intravenous injection of untargeted polymersomes and LinTT1-targeted polymersomes. The location of the tumors is marked with red arrow and both tumors had the same volume. The detection limit of the tumors using PET images was significantly lowered when using LinTT1 guided polymersomes.

Link to the paper: https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24588

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