Anne-Mari A. Willmore and Tambet Teesalu of the Lab of Cancer Biology were among the members of the team that reported in Nature Materials on the development of etchable plasmonic silver nanoparticle system for cancer targeting studies. The lead author of the study “Etchable plasmonic nanoparticle probes to image and quantify cellular internalization” ( is Gary B Braun Ph.D. of Sanford Burnham Medical research Institute, La Jolla (USA) –PhD co-supervisor of Anne-Mari A. Willmore.

We are happy to congratulate our enthusiastic and talented M.Sc. students for successful conclusion of their thesis work and wish them good luck in future endeavors!




  Annika Jürimäe: „Identification of long-circulating peptides using in vivo phage display“. The aim of Annika’s work was to identify peptides that increase phage blood half-life and can be used as RES-avoiding peptides on synthetic nanoparticles.







  Kairit Kukk: “In vitro interactions of tumor-penetrating peptides with spontaneous tumours of dogs and cats”. This work characterized ex vivo binding, internalization and penetration of a panel of tumor homing peptides to a panel of spontaneous  veterinary tumors. 









  Vidrik Teder: „Serum ratiometric diagnostic peptide screening using in vivo phage display“. The aim of Vidrik’s  work was to identify peptides that modulate blood clearance of nanoparticles in tumor-dependent manner.

The Lab of Cancer Biology moved to newly built Center for Translational Medicine Building. The center includes a large animal facility and modern laboratories that will facilitate groundbreaking work on developing targeted cancer therapies.
External link:


The second joint meeting  with prof. Langel’s lab at Institute of Technology of the University of Tartu  (organizer: Kaido Kurrikoff Ph.D.) was held in Pühajärve hotel in Southern Estonia. Different aspects of peptide-mediated payload delivery, peptide design, and nanotechnology were discussed in 11 talks, followed by a general discussion and social activities. 

Friday, 13 June 2014 09:09

AACR Annual Meeting - April 5-9, 2014

Pille Säälik, Tambet Teesalu, and Kadri Toome participated  at the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research on April 5-9, 2014 in San Diego, California, USA. The AACR Annual Meeting is the premier cancer research event where the latest and most exciting basic, translational, and clinical discoveries are presented each year. The theme for the AACR Annual Meeting 2014 was, “Harnessing Breakthroughs – Targeting Cures” and it drew over 18,000 researchers, patient advocates, and other professionals in the cancer field from around the world.

The members of the team of Lab of Cancer Biology  were coauthors in the following poster presentations:

  1. A tumor-specific tissue penetrating peptide inhibits metastasis. Kazuki N. Sugahara, Gary B. Braun, Tatiana H. De Mendoza, Venkata R. Kotamraju, Tambet Teesalu, Erkki Ruoslahti, Randall P. French, Andrew M. Lowy.
  2. Targeting premalignant lesions for early breast cancer detection andAman P. Mann, Ramana Kotamraju, Tambet Teesalu, Erkki Ruoslahti.
  3. The CendR pathway: A novel cell penetration and transcytosis pathway regulated by nutrientHong-Bo Pang, Gary B. Braun, Tomas Friman, Pedro Aza-Blanc, Manuel E. Ruidiaz, Kazuki N. Sugahara, Tambet Teesalu, Erkki Ruoslahti.
  4. Urokinase plasminogen activator-dependent tumor penetrating peptide. Tambet Teesalu, Kazuki N. Sugahara, Gary B. Braun, Venkata Ramana Kotamraju, Erkki Ruoslahti
  5. In vivo audition of tumor homing peptides using high-throughput sequencing and q-PCR. Kadri Toome, Tarmo Mölder, Kuldar Kõiv, Pille Säälik, Kazuki N. Sugahara, Erkki Ruoslahti, Tambet Teesalu.

A review in Frontiers in Oncology by discoverers of the tumor penetrating peptide technology Drs Teesalu, Sugahara, and Ruoslahti summarizes  the discovery, applications, and future perspectives of the TPP for targeted delivery of payloads to tumors.   Front Oncol. 2013 Aug 27;3:216. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2013.00216. PMID: 23986882

Norwegian-Estonian Research Cooperation Programme reached a positive funding decision regarding the joint proposal of the lab of Cancer Biology  with the group of Prof. Bjerkvig in the University of Bergen (Norway) on the development of glioma stem cell like cell targeting peptides. The project is one out of 13 projects (170 total) that  were  recommended for funding.

Prof. Tambet Teesalu presented his work on the P32 binding tumor penetrating peptide and on the development of the high-throughput sequencing-based phage display platform  on the EMBO Young Investigator Program Cancer Group meeting in Antalya, Turkey.

Monday, 07 October 2013 13:37

September 2013. New members joining the lab

The Laboratory of Cancer Biology continues recruiting researchers  to build up a  multidisciplinary team for development of cancer drugs and therapeutics. The latest members to join us are lab manager Kaarel Kurm (M.Sc. in molecular biology, University of Tartu), Ph.D. student Hedi Hunt  (M.Sc. in Drug Innovation, University of Utrecht), research scientist Hideki Ikemoto (Ph. D. in chemistry, Technical University of Denmark), and  bioinformatician Aleksander Sudakov (B.Sc.  in bioinformatics, University of Tartu).

On March 1-2, 2013 Lab of Cancer Biology (organizers Tarmo Mölder and Tambet Teesalu) hosted the first Tartu Spring Peptide Workshop at the Kääriku Sports and Recreation Center in hilly Southern Estonia. Labs of Prof. Ulo Langel and Prof. Margus Pooga were also participating. There were 14 presentations from group leaders, postdocs, and students dealing with various aspects of peptide-mediated payload delivery, peptide design, and nanotechnology, followed by general discussion and social activities. 
It was agreed that there is a critical mass of peptide-related complementary expertise at the Tartu University that may lead to research synergy and collaboration.

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