Helmut Ringsdorf was brought up in the Rhine Valley, took wine for milk and studied Chemistry, Politics and Geology in Frankfurt, Darmstadt and Freiburg.
After two years as post-doc in New York, he taught Polymer Science and Organic Chemistry at the Universities in Marburg and Mainz. The research group was active in attempts to bridge the gap between Life Science and Materials Science studying the self-organization of synthetic and biological systems, biomembrane models, polymeric liquid crystals, and polymeric therapeutica (Antitumor drugs, Nanomedicine). He could not avoid to get some prices, awards, and Honorary PhDs from around the world.
To-day some of the most exciting research in the world is being undertaken in the field of molecular biology and medicine. Many challenges exist in identifying disease at the earliest possible stage and attempts to develop concepts to prevent and treat life threatening illnesses, e.g. like cancer on a biomedical rational.
In Europe and USA approximately one in three people get some form of cancer; of these patients one in four die of their diseases. How can we cope with it? What can we learn from Mother Nature? Nowadays, many primary tumors – early recognized - are treatable and can even be cured. So, where is the problem?
The problems are the metastases: Most cancer death are based on metastases induced secondary tumors.
Starting from singled out tumor cells, vascularisation (angiogenesis) is needed to support these tumor nodules with oxygene, nutrition etc.
Developing their growing vascularisation systems hastily, the tumors make mistakes leading to hyperpermeable arteries and veins by the formation of irregularities and even holes in their blood vessels.
These defects open new opportunities for tissue and cell selective localization of nanoscale drug delivery systems, which after i.v.-injection can not leave the perfect arteries and veins in healthy tissue.
Based on this concept applying polymer therapeutic has led to new dimensions in tumor chemotherapy [1-4] and tumor targeting.
Polymer antitumor agents and polymeric angiogenesis inhibitors are not only in clinical Phase I- and Phase II-studies, but several polymer therapeutics are already in clinical use.
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