R & D

Diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer is an ongoing challenge for clinicians and researchers for the past several decades. Most pancreatic cancers are aggressive and advance quickly before the disease is identified or prognosis is made. A need for early diagnosis and treatment for pancreatic cancers is growing rapidly. Early detection and diagnosis can define the treatment for patients and better outcomes.

Because each tumor is different, it is necessary to identify the biology of individual tumors expressed as biomarkers. Identifying the correct pattern of biomarkers and developing antibodies for early diagnosis is first step in the treatment of pancreatic cancers. Development of new blood based assays will be a breakthrough in pancreatic cancer testing.

WE PROPOSE TO DEVELOP NEW ASSAYS FOR EARLY DETECTION OF PANCREATIC CANCERS USING BIOMARKER DISCOVERY APPROACH

WHAT ARE BIOMARKERS

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) of the United States, a biomarker is “a characteristic that is objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biologic processes, pathogenic processes, or pharmacologic responses to a therapeutic intervention.” Biomarkers are found in body fluids and tissue that indicate the risk or presence of cancers before it develops and cause symptoms. These biomarkers are expressed long before the disease has started or progressed. Biomarkers are useful tools in the early diagnosis and for targeted drug therapies. Biomarkers are identified by various methods. We propose to develop pancreatic cancer biomarkers.

The immunotherapy project is focused on the use of Natural Killer (NK) cells for immunotherapy of malignant diseases, in particular hematological diseases. The project is addressing the questions of cell culture media optimization to reduce interdonor variability in NK cell in vitro expansion and optimize large scale culture of NK cells. We plan to release improved cell culture vessels and growth media for specific expansion of immunologically active lymphocytes.

 

In the gene therapy line of work, we have constructed mutated NK cell activation receptors with potential to retarget gene-modified NK cells. Work is under way to optimize the mutants and the gene transfer system for use in primary donor cells and test their function in vitro and in murine leukemia models.

 

We have planned a phase I/II clinical trial for using NK cells on Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and Multiple Myeloma.The overall aim of the project is to develop cell-based immunotherapy for treatment of malignant diseases and facilitate its establishment in clinical practice.

Semaphorins and their receptors plexins/neuropilins are expressed aberrantly in several (e.g. brain, breast and lung) cancers, and are therefore suitable targets for diagnosis as well as therapy. We have identified that the expression of plexin B3 is altered in gliomas. Understanding of such expression patterns yields the basis for planned applied research on novel diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
The objective of the project is the development of RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry-based diagnostic methods for profiling of all semaphorins, plexins and neuropilins.In addition, a research on recombinant extracellular domains (SEMA) of above mentioned molecules as decoys to repress tumor development will be performed.