Sept 29, 2018 – As published on Usbek&Rica (Translated)
Founder of the start-up Torskal, Anne-Laure Morel has designed a targeted cancer treatment that works with gold nanoparticles obtained from ambaville, a plant endemic to her native island, Reunion Island. We met with her on site to learn more about her research in nanomedicine.
We met Anne-Laure Morel in her laboratory at the Cyclotron Réunion Océan Indien (CYROI), the biotech nursery of the Saint-Denis Technopole, where we met her. Trained at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, this 36 year old woman from Reunion Island fights every day in this incubator against cancer with pipettes and test tubes. Her ambition: to find an alternative to current treatments. To meet this ambition, in 2015 she created the start-up Torskal, a local flagship in the field of nanomedicine.
“We are pioneers in the design of green chemistry-based nano-medicines based on natural products,” explains the researcher, who was inspired by the work of Patrick Couvreur, the French specialist in medical nanotechnology. Currently being tested on mice, Anne-Laure’s invention consists of injecting gold nanoparticles into a tumor and then irradiating them with infrared radiation. The heat released destroys the cancer cells without harming the rest of the body. The treatment is targeted, as opposed to chemotherapy, which attacks not only tumour cells but also healthy cells and has severe side effects. “Gold nanoparticles are biocompatible and have low toxicity,” says the scientist.