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“It’s always about the patient.”

Fewer side effects: Molecular biologist Aleksandra Konovalova is working on a new cancer drug.


So, Aleksandra, what exactly does a small molecular inhibitor do?

Basically, it is a chemical particle that blocks enzymes. In our case, a single enzyme is blocked in what we call a signal path. We interrupt the signal path and prevent the tumor from growing.

Why do you think a cancer drug based on your particles has fewer side effects?

Because the enzyme we block is only significant for diseased cells. In healthy cells, it serves to store energy. In the early days of human existence, it certainly had an essential function for individuals, but in an affluent society, where food is readily available, it can be easily switched off.

At what stage is Project Curalix currently?

We’re testing five groups of chemicals on cells, and by the middle of 2019, we’d like to start with the animal experiments.

The path from basic research to an approved drug usually takes over ten years. Furthermore, only 1 in 50 drugs in the preclinical phase ever makes it onto the market.

How do you handle that?

You need perseverance and patience in this industry, that’s for sure. But it’s always about the patient. We believe in our project and are giving it our very best. We can’t influence anything else.


Aleksandra Konovalova has joined the Business Concept course in spring 2018.