In his ERC-funded project, Timo Laaksonen investigates how to release, in a controlled manner, drugs in the body using blue or UV light.
Compared to more commonly used red light, blue light offers broader opportunities for drug release. For example, the energy of blue or ultraviolet light is enough to detach the drug molecules attached to the surface of a nanocarrier.
Laaksonen’s project aims to understand how to safely target blue or UV light to the site where the drug should be released. Previously, the challenge in using UV light has been its penetration depth in tissue, which even at its best is roughly the breadth of a single hair. In addition, UV light can damage the body.
Blue light could be precisely targeted by upconverting photons to a higher energy level inside the body or by utilising various drug implants activated by light.
Through photodynamic activation, drugs could be released, for example, at a certain time every morning, in addition to which the release rate could be continually adjusted to suit the patient.
Project name and duration
PADRE, Photoactivatable Drug Releasing Implants, 2021–2025.