Hans Lennernäs will use his Humboldt Research Award to join colleagues at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Leading international pharmaceutical scientist from Uppsala University will collaborate with his JGU host Peter Langguth to reduce side effects of chemotherapy

30 May 2022

The internationally renowned pharmaceutical scientist Professor Hans Lennernäs of Uppsala University has been given a Humboldt Research Award worth EUR 60,000 by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Among other things, he will be using the award funding to spend six months as a visiting scholar at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) to join Professor Peter Langguth of the Institute of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, who nominated him for the prize. "Hans Lennernäs is among the world's leading specialists in the field of pharmaceutical science. His unique translational projects have repeatedly demonstrated how findings from pure biomedical research can successfully result in the development of applications that can be used in practice. We are both delighted that the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is thus providing us with the opportunity to intensify our existing collaboration," said Langguth.

Lennernäs is expected to arrive in Mainz this fall. He and Langguth will work together to investigate ways to mitigate the typical undesirable effects experienced by patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. "Following the administration of chemotherapeutic drugs, the result can often be mucosal inflammation or damage to the digestive tract. Such side effects can be so severe that the drug dosage needs to be reduced, in turn reducing their effectiveness against cancer," Langguth pointed out. "Our goal is to identify active substances that will counteract these adverse reactions and then explore whether it is possible to develop drugs based on these substances. Our teams perfectly complement each other in terms of their expertise. Hans Lennernäs' research team has extensive knowledge of the healing processes of intestinal tissue, while in Mainz we know a great deal about how we need to produce drugs to ensure that their active ingredients are transported precisely to the sites in the body where they can best exert their effects." Langguth's and Lennernäs' research will complement the work of the JGU Collaborative Research Center "Nano-Dimensional Polymer Therapeutics for Tumor Therapy," in which Langguth is a co-project coordinator.

Hans Lennernäs has been Professor of Pharmaceutical Biosciences at Uppsala University, Sweden, since 2000. His current research focuses on the development of drugs for prostate and liver cancer. He has published more than 240 research papers, supervised 28 doctoral students, and received a number of national and international awards, including that of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the UK. His work as a lead scientist in a project for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) at the University of Michigan and at the Swedish Medical Products Agency from 1992 to 2000 has also earned him worldwide recognition. In the project, Lennernäs played a key role in developing the Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS), which differentiates between drugs on the basis of their solubility and permeability. This enables medical prescribers to select from multisource drug products with identical active contents (e.g., generics) and allows pharmacists to dispense more cost-efficient products with similar quality.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation gives its Humboldt Research Award annually to up to 100 leading international researchers from outside Germany whose overall achievements during their careers to date have been particularly outstanding. It is possible to nominate researchers for an award whose discoveries, findings, or theories have had a lasting effect on their discipline beyond their immediate research area and who are expected to continue producing exceptional research in the future. Award winners are invited to conduct a research project of their choice at a research institution in Germany in cooperation with specialist colleagues there for a period of up to one year. Nominations can be submitted by researchers at research institutions in Germany.