Mainz, January 23, 2018 – The Keystone Symposium on Lymphocytes and their Role in Cancer will take place February 11th-15th 2018 at the Keystone Resort in Keystone, Colorado. This is a joint event with Emerging Cellular Therapies: T Cells and Beyond.
Ugur Sahin is one of the scientific organizers and will not only chair a session on Cellular Therapies in Blood Malignancies, but will also give a lecture entitled “Systemic RNA Delivery, Dendritic Cell Vaccines and Implications for Cancer Immunotherapy” in the Emerging Concepts in the Development of Tumor Vaccines session on February 14th at 5:00 p.m.
For more information on this event, please see the official Keystone website.
Co-delivery of viral immune evasion proteins results in increased expression of self-amplifying RNA
The concept of delivering genetic material to defective cells to treat diseases or to vaccinate healthy people against infections has been around for quite some time. Nevertheless, key challenges remain, such as efficient delivery of the material as well as duration of gene expression. Collaborative research led by scientists from TRON, the University Medical Centre of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and BioNTech AG gives new insight on how a novel approach can overcome these gene delivery hurdles.
Overcoming the innate immune response
“In this study, we improved the expression of alphavirus derived self-amplifying RNA (saRNA), which is probably the most promising candidate amongst nucleic acid-based delivery platforms”, says Tim Beissert, first author of the work published in September in Human Gene Therapy. “saRNA vectors are of increasing interest for applications such as transient expression of recombinant proteins and vaccination.” saRNA however, also induces a strong innate host immune response in transfected cells, which until now has been an obstacle to the full exploitation of this platform. The team therefore set out to examine how this unwanted immune response could be suppressed, ensuring efficient gene expression.
EKB does the job
“In previous studies, we showed that a cocktail of three vaccinia virus proteins E3, K3 and B18 (EKB) improved the expression of synthetic non-replicating mRNA”, Tim Beissert continues to elaborate. “We therefore set out to test this concept with saRNA and optimized this approach.”
“We co-delivered non-replicating mRNA encoding the EKB proteins with our gene of interest located on saRNA and looked for increased expression”, adds Mario Perkovic, co-author of the work. “We show that this strategy resulted in highly potent blocking of the immune response and in an increased expression of the encoded protein.”
The implications are manifold
Antigen-encoding saRNA is safe and, due to self-amplification, high levels of protein can by produced from even minute amounts of transfected templates. saRNA vectors are of increasing interest for applications such as transient expression of recombinant proteins and vaccination. “Our work addresses a high need for efficient gene delivery”, Tim Beissert highlights the importance of their work. “This application promises improved bioavailability of the encoded protein, reduce the effective dose and correspondingly the cost of goods of manufacture. Since vaccination of major parts of the population – like the annual influenza vaccination – require huge amounts of the vaccine, we will continue to improve saRNA potency and delivery to reach affordable costs.”
The concept of delivering genetic material to defective cells to treat diseases or to vaccinate healthy people against infections has been around for quite some time. Nevertheless, key challenges remain, such as efficient delivery of the material as well as duration of gene expression.
In the course of evolution, the immune system has developed sophisticated mechanisms to identify and eliminate invading pathogens and degenerate cells, thereby preventing infection and tumor occurrence. When these mechanisms are ineffective or somehow bypassed, tumors or chronic infections may form. Clarifying the processes leading to ineffective immune defense is the central goal of the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 1292, "Targeting convergent mechanisms of inefficient immunity in tumors and chronic infections". The results from this SFB should help inform new immunotherapeutic approaches.
With effect from 1 January 2018, the DFG is launching the SFB 1292 at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). The SFB will be funded with around 9.7 million Euros for an initial period of four years. TRON is involved in the cooperation with the sub-project "Neo-epitope-specific CD4+ T cells - Anti-tumoral mechanisms and their modulation" as well as the service project "Integrated OMICS and Bioinformatics Platform".
Further information is available in the official press release.
Source Logo SFB 1292: University Medical Center Mainz
Mainz, November 24, 2017 – The Antibody Engineering and Therapeutics conference will take place December 11th-15th 2017 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California. This conference offers lectures on the latest science, technologies and partners needed to accelerate next generation antibodies towards commercial success.
In this context, TRON’s Sebastian Kreiter give a talk on “RNA Cancer Vaccination and Immunomodulatory Antibodies – Insights from Preclinical Research and Clinical Testing” on December 14th at 2:15 p.m.
For more information on this event, please see the official website.
The Antibody Engineering and Therapeutics conference will take place December 11th-15th 2017 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California.
Mainz, November 2, 2017 – The Berlin Institute of Health, together with the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Max Delbrück Center for Molecule Medicine and Tagesspiegel, will host the second Future Medicine: Innovation in Health Science meeting on 7th November. This symposium features outstanding speakers on the four themes of: Digital Health and Big Data, Precision Medicine and Predictive Models, Cell and Gene Therapies and Stem Cells and Human Disease Modeling.
TRON’s Mustafa Diken is featured in the program and will speak about “Personalized Cancer Vaccines.”
For more information, please see the official website.
The Berlin Institute of Health, together with the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Max Delbrück Center for Molecule Medicine and Tagesspiegel, will host the second Future Medicine: Innovation in Health Science meeting on 7th November.
Mainz, 2017-10-25 - TRON scientific advisor Prof. Dr. Dr. Cornelis J. Melief, Leiden, Netherlands, will be awarded with the degree of an honorary medical doctor. Melief will be awarded for his lifetime achievements as a pioneer of tumor immunology, as well as for his commitment and deserts regarding immunological research in Mainz. Further information about the event can be found on the pages of the University Medical Center.
TRON in the Media
Welcome to TRON
TRON – Translational Oncology at the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz is a biopharmaceutical research organization that pursues new diagnostics and drugs for the treatment of cancer and other severe diseases with high medical need. A focus of TRON is the development of novel platforms for individualized therapies and biomarkers, translating basic research into drug applications. TRON partners with academic institutions, biotech companies and the pharmaceutical industry, executing research with leading-edge technologies and supporting the development of innovative drugs to promote human health.