What are your research topics?
The solubility of most new pharmaceutical agents is so poor that it renders them unusable. My research is aimed at increasing by various means the solubility of poorly soluble pharmaceuticals. When we are able to improve medicine solubility, for example, through nanotechnology solutions or by manufacturing suitable compounds with the help of excipients, pharmaceuticals can be turned into functional medicinal products.
Where and how does the topic of your research have an impact?
New pharmaceutical substances can be used to provide increasingly effective therapies for various diseases. When we are able to make pharmaceutical agents more soluble, these new and more effective agents can be utilised in drug research, providing patients with effective drugs.
Improving the solubility of pharmaceuticals can also reduce their environmental impact, as an enhanced effect in patients then requires a smaller quantity of drugs.
What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?
Most pharmaceutical agents, as well as the excipients used in pharmaceutical products, are naturally derived. There remains a great deal to discover in nature. For instance, various plant-based cellulose products are very versatile as pharmaceutical excipients.
It is also fascinating to think that what is waste for someone can be a valuable raw material for someone else. For example, lactose extracted from milk can serve as a potential excipient.
Leena Peltonen is the Professor of Pharmaceutical Technology at the Faculty of Pharmacy.