POLYTHEA: How light can save lives
Thesis director Bruno Therrien
Abstract The development of active compounds that can efficiently fight microbial infections and cancer are of utmost
importance for food security and human health, two main challenges for Europe. Tetrapyrrolic photosensitizers (PS)
are good candidates to meet these expectations. These photo-excitable molecules induce cell death via the formation
of oxygen reactive species (ROS) and present very low toxicity in the absence of light. They are already used in
photodynamic therapy (PDT) for cancer or skin disease treatments or in photo-antimicrobial chemo-therapy (PACT).
Unfortunately, the research and training are still largely fragmented in this field in Europe. Some scientific barriers
have to be overcome to increase their efficacy, e.g. improvement of the excitation pathways, ROS production, specific
cell targeting, Gram (-) bactericidal effect and prevention and/or eradication of biofilms. That is why the EJD Polythea
project aims developing an integrated and multidisciplinary approach of PDT through the implementation of 10
PhD research projects. The Polythea consortium proposes to develop (i) new tetrapyrrolic PS for various types of
PDT including anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and immune-activating application, improving their
photophysical and biological properties; and (ii) innovative bio-inspired drug carriers or supports.
In parallel, a joint doctorate structure gathering 5 countries will be created and a multidisciplinary and inter-sectorial
training programme will be implemented through network events and secondments to non-academic partners. It will
provide a common background on PDT to the ESRs and make them more valuable employees, effective at problem
solving. Practical applications should come out of this project such as first aid bandages, new skin/anti-tumour
treatments, self-sterilizing surfaces for food industry or prosthetic devices.
Keywords Spectroscopic and spectrometric techniques, Method development in chemistry, Organic chemistry, Medicinal chemistry
Project homepage http://www.polythea.eu/
Type of project Applied research project
Research area Chimie
Method of financing Europe
Status Ongoing
Start of project 1-4-2018
End of project 31-3-2022
Overall budget 300'000
Contact Bruno Therrien