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The Dutch Research Council NWO has awarded a grant to Prof. Timothy Noël at the Van ‘t Hoff Institute of Molecular Sciences and Prof. Tom Grossmann at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for joint research into photocatalytic reactions for the labelling of antibodies. The grant has a volume of about 700,000 euros, enabling the appointment of two PhD candidates.

The grant was awarded by the NWO Domain Science in its Open Competition M programme which is dedicated to innovative, high-quality, fundamental research and studies involving matters of scientific urgency. The proposed research of Noël and Grossmann aims at the selective chemical modification of antibodies that hold the promise to contribute to novel treatments of cancer and other diseases.

Coupling drugs or diagnostic labels to antibodies in principle enables a targeted treatment or the highly specific detection of particular cancers. However, the preparation of such bioconjugates can be quite cumbersome and their synthesis often leads to mixtures of multiple compounds which are essentially inseparable. Noël and Grossmann propose the development of novel innovative methods that enable a fast and selective synthesis of such bioconjugates, with the use of light. Combining Noël’s expertise in photocatalysis and Grossmann’ expertise in peptidomimetics, they aim to develop new photocatalytic approaches to selectively label antibodies and other proteins.

See also