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    Laboratory of Chemical Synthesis and Catalysis

    The aim of the project is the development of new catalytic transformations and their use in the fundamental research of biomarkers during the early stages of inflammation, cancer and autoimmune disease. The study is being conducted on living systems at the molecular, cellular and organismal levels, necessary for understanding the source and progress of illnesses, and also in the search for effective medicines.

    The laboratory is engaged in the development of chemical methods which allow the placement of molecules into the required biological environment. For this to be possible, the molecule needs to be resistant to at least hydrophobic interactions and nucleophile functional groups, and the reaction should be effective in the presence of water, acid and protein.

    The laboratory is working on establishing a preparation that can potentially be used for the treatment of malignant illnesses of the blood circulation system. According to Valery Fokin, “This is a very multi-faceted and complex project, the aim of which is to develop more effective and selective preparations for the treatment of malignant illnesses of the blood circulation system. Scientists from many disciplines are involved in this work, including James Paulson (Scripps Institute, La Jolla, USA), one of the leaders in the field of glycobiology. Our innovation is to place this toxic substance into a microscopic bubble, a liposome. These liposomes contain ligands for B-cell receptors (B-cells are white blood cells) so that such molecules can only interact with specific cells – B-lymphocytes. As a result, the liposomes are absorbed only by these lymphocytes and destroy only those cells, without touching any healthy cells. This is a step in the direction of the creation of the so-called “magic bullet,” a medicine without side effects, about which Paul Ehrlich wrote more than a hundred of years ago.”

    Scientists are currently preparing to test this preparation on animals, though it has not yet reached the stage of clinical testing.

    Валерий Фокин

    SupervisorValery Fokin

    Valery Fokin is professor at The Scripps Research Institute (USA) is, according to Thomson Reuters, among the one hundred leading chemists of the decade and a student of Barry Sharpless, 2001 Nobel laureate. Work in the laboratory is supported by the Russian government’s mega-grant program.

    See also interview with Valery Fokin about the Laboratory of Chemical Synthesis and Catalysis.


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