Elisabete Oliveira distinguished with the Honor Award L'Oréal Portugal

Elisabete Oliveira, researcher at UCIBIO at FCT NOVA, was awarded with the Medal of Honor L'Oreal Portugal for Women in Science 2015.

The Project, entitled “New Generation of Luminescent Biodegradable Quantum Dots for Screening and Drug Delivery in Biological Samples’’, aims to develop biodegradable luminescent nanoparticles for new biomarkers screening and for controlled drug delivery [Doxorubicin (DOX) and camptothecin (CPT)] in cancer cells. This methodology covers the resolution of several critical issues, such as, resistance to chemotherapy, the absence of accurate and efficient drug delivery devices and high drug dosage frequency.

“Chemotherapy has lots of secondary effects, and, therefore, we aim to have a more efficient treatment. The great advantage of this system consists of introducing the drug we want and by this way construct different devices”, explains Elisabete Oliveira. Doxorubicin and Camptothecin are drugs usually used in the treatment of cancer, being doxorubicin administrated only intravenously. “One of the innovative ideas of this project consists of the possibility of carrying doxorubicin on the biodegradable luminescent nanoparticles, specific to cancer cells, for oral administration to patients”, says Elisabete Oliveira. “This strategy will reduce the drug dosage frequency, as well as increase patient compliance. It is also possible to monitor, by luminescence, the effect of the drug on cancer cells until its biodegradation and elimination”, explains Elisabete Oliveira. 

The Project may contribute to improve the quality of life of patients, with the creation of a non-invasive treatment device (orally administrated). The development of biodegradable luminescent nanoparticles specific to cancer cells will provide a more efficient treatment, help to fight against the resistance to chemotherapy and will allow decreasing the secondary effect through an administration of controlled doses of the drug.

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