Cookie Settings

We use cookies to optimize our website. These include cookies that are necessary for the operation of the site, as well as those that are only used for anonymous statistic. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Further information can be found in our data privacy protection .

Essential

These cookies are necessary to run the core functionalities of this website and cannot be disabled.

Name Webedition CMS
Purpose This cookie is required by the CMS (Content Management System) Webedition for the system to function correctly. Typically, this cookie is deleted when the browser is closed.
Name econda
Purpose Session cookie emos_jcsid for the web analysis software econda. This runs in the “anonymized measurement” mode. There is no personal reference. As soon as the user leaves the site, tracking is ended and all data in the browser are automatically deleted.
Statistics

These cookies help us understand how visitors interact with our website by collecting and analyzing information anonymously. Depending on the tool, one or more cookies are set by the provider.

Name econda
Purpose Statistics
External media

Content from external media platforms is blocked by default. If cookies from external media are accepted, access to this content no longer requires manual consent.

Name YouTube
Purpose Show YouTube content
Name Twitter
Purpose activate Twitter Feeds

ERC funding: How to deliver gene therapies to a specific target site?

No. 52 | 21/09/2022 | by Koh

With its "Proof of Concept" grants, the European Research Council ERC supports scientists in further developing the commercial potential of their research results. Nina Papavasiliou from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) is now receiving the prestigious grant for the second time: she wants to advance the development of a "molecular delivery service" that ensures that therapeutic genes reach the right address in the body in a targeted manner. One of the aims of this project is to develop more targeted cancer vaccines.

Nina Papavasiliou
© Jutta Jung / DKFZ

What is special about the ERC's "Proof of Concept" grants is that only those who already receive ERC funding can apply for it. The Research Council thus wants to enable scientists to test and develop possible areas of application for their research results obtained in an ERC-funded project.

On the basis of her ERC Consolidator Grant, which was approved in 2016, Nina Papavasiliou has now already been able to acquire the second ‚Proof of Concept' grant. Her current idea: to channel therapeutic genes as precisely as possible into target cells, she relies on a type of artificial exosomes. Biologists use this term to describe tiny membrane vesicles that are secreted by the cell and can carry a molecular cargo inside them.

Papavasiliou wants to equip the membrane of these vesicles with molecules that dock precisely to certain surface proteins of the target cells. The docking maneuver causes the vesicle and the target cell to fuse, and the molecular cargo finds its way into the interior of the target cells.

The DKFZ researcher uses the membranes of the blood parasite Trypanosoma brucei, the pathogen that causes sleeping sickness, for the artificial exosomes. These membranes are covered in extremely high density with a surface protein of the pathogen. Using an enzymatic reaction Papavasiliou can bind any molecules to this surface protein that enables precise targeting of all types of target cells.

For gene therapies, the vesicles could be loaded with therapeutic genes and thus represent an alternative to the viral gene ferries that have been mostly used up to now but are often problematic. For RNA vaccinations against cancer cells, it would also be possible to transport mRNA molecules inside the vesicles. By binding the vesicles to a cancer-specific protein, the mRNA molecules would be specifically delivered only into the tumor cells.

Biologist Nina Papavasiliou received her PhD from Rockefeller University in New York in 1998, where she headed an immunology research department until 2015. Since 2016, the U.S. American has headed the Division Immune Diversity at the German Cancer Research Center. For her outstanding research achievements, Nina Papavasiliou was accepted as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 2020. In 2021, she was awarded the first-ever DKFZ Innovation Award.

A picture of Nina Papavasiliou is available for download:
www.dkfz.de/de/presse/pressemitteilungen/2021/bilder/Papavasiliou.jpg 

Note on use of images related to press releases
Use is free of charge. The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) permits one-time use in the context of reporting about the topic covered in the press release. Images have to be cited as follows: "Source: Jutta Jung / DKFZ ".
Distribution of images to third parties is not permitted unless prior consent has been obtained from DKFZ's Press Office (phone: ++49-(0)6221 42 2854, E-mail: presse@dkfz.de). Any commercial use is prohibited.

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. More than 1,300 scientists at the DKFZ investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and search for new strategies to prevent people from developing cancer. They are developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to all questions on cancer.

Jointly with partners from the university hospitals, the DKFZ operates the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg and Dresden, and the Hopp Children's Cancer Center KiTZ in Heidelberg. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of the six German Centers for Health Research, the DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partner locations. NCT and DKTK sites combine excellent university medicine with the high-profile research of the DKFZ. They contribute to the endeavor of transferring promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improving the chances of cancer patients.

The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.

RSS-Feed

Subscribe to our RSS-Feed.

to top
powered by webEdition CMS