Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Mainz University obtains new DFG-CRC on "Nanodimensional polymer therapeutics for tumor therapy"

Mainz chemists and physicians develop nanoparticle-based immunotherapy for cancer

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has established a new Collaborative Research Center on "Nanodimensional polymer therapeutics for tumor therapy" (CRC 1066) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P). Starting in October 2013, the Collaborative Research Center will receive grants totaling approximately EUR 11 million over four years to develop a nanoparticle-based cancer therapy to combat melanoma as an immunogenic tumor model.

The Mainz scientists will focus on a form of cancer immunotherapy that is specifically suitable for permanently eliminating minimal residual disease, such as hidden metastases. The new CRC is notable for its interdisciplinary approach: chemists will study the synthetic feasibility and the structure-property relationships of carrier materials, while immunologists and biomedical specialists develop models for the optimal use of such carriers – in the form of a new combination therapy for activating the body’s immune response against the cancer.

The coordinator of the new DFG-funded Collaborative Research Center is Professor Rudolf Zentel from the Institute of Organic Chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Assistant coordinators are Professor Stephan Grabbe from the Department of Dermatology at the Mainz University Medical Center and Professor Katharina Landfester from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz. In addition, the Board of Directors will include Professor Detlef Schuppan from the Department of Internal Medicine I at the Mainz University Medical Center and Dr. Mathias Barz from the JGU Institute of Organic Chemistry as a representative of young researchers.

The combination of the expertise of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, one of the leading sites for polymer chemistry in Germany, together with the excellent research structure in the area of tumor immunotherapy at the Mainz University Medical Center, will enable the new CRC to conduct research at the broadest level. "This new Collaborative Research Center will bring together these very strong research areas to create new medical challenges for natural scientists as well as to provide medical research with a stronger natural scientific orientation," said the coordinator of the CRC, Professor Rudolf Zentel.
"Researchers from the field of chemistry, alongside immunologists and biomedical specialists, will develop novel, multifunctional, nanodimensional therapeutic agents with the aim of releasing agents and combinations of agents in as cell-specific a way as possible, and to also make it possible to make very sensitive agents, such as RNA, therapeutically usable. In an intensively interdisciplinary process, we will combine innovative therapeutic approaches from immunology and oncology with the synthesis of a broad array of well-characterized, suitably functional polymeric nanoparticles with clear physicochemical characterization in the biological environment."

For the chemists, the challenge is to synthesize well-defined polymeric carrier systems and to modify them, render them functional, and to load them with suitable therapeutic agents. Building on these initial synthetic steps, the scientists will go on to test these carrier systems in cross-sectional projects with respect to their interactions in extracellular media, cellular uptake, and distribution in the body. "Our biomedical specialists will then test these systems in combined tumor immunotherapy based on the targeted induction of inflammation in the tumor, stimulation of the immune response, and neutralization of tumor tolerance," said Professor Stephan Grabbe, Director of the Department of Dermatology at the Mainz University Medical Center.

"This Collaborative Research Center is the fruit of decades of excellent research achievements by Mainz scientists in chemistry and medicine and demonstrates the success of building profiles and specialties in science and research at our university," said the President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Professor Georg Krausch. Mainz has distinguished itself through its many years of successful activity in the field of polymer research and its current work in CRC 625: From single molecules to nanoscale structured materials, Mainz has become renowned for its great expertise in creating and characterizing the physicochemical nature of nanoparticular systems. This makes it possible to create narrowly distributed functional polymer structures and to investigate their aggregate formation in a biological context. In addition, the new CRC will benefit from extensive expertise in the organic chemistry of natural substances, concentrated in the Center for the Synthesis of Natural Products, which is funded by the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, BASF and Boehringer Ingelheim and which contributes to the knowledge of linkers and identification structures as well as a radiopharmaceutical division with outstanding chemical processing options, for example in the field of labeling chemistry and in vivo imaging using PET at the JGU Institute of Nuclear Chemistry. The Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research is also a competent partner for the synthesis and characterization of polymeric carriers.

The Mainz University Medical Center has established a specialty area in immunology with experience in immunotherapy as well as a Center for Translational Oncology (TRON) in combination with new spin-off firms, such as GANYMED, which can supply anti-tumor antibodies. Overall, there is a longstanding tradition of basic research in tumor immunology at the Mainz University Medical Center with the development of new concepts in tumor immunotherapy, culminating in clinical trials focused on melanoma, for example, in Collaborative Research Center 432, which concentrates on tumor immunology and experimental therapy. In addition, the Center for Natural Sciences and Medicine, headed by Professor Stephan Grabbe, has encouraged similar kinds of collaboration between medicine and the natural sciences at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz for more than 30 years.

"The new Collaborative Research Center shows that it makes sense to encourage the development of strong network structures in Mainz and the region. The concept of the CRC is promising because initial successes, specifically in melanoma treatment, have demonstrated that this treatment concept may contribute to making it possible in the future to successfully treat cancers that are now incurable," emphasized Professor Förstermann, Chief Scientific Officer of the Mainz University Medical Center.

Further information:
Professor Rudolf Zentel
Institute of Organic Chemistry
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU)
D 55099 Mainz, GERMANY
phone +49 6131 39-20361
fax +49 6131 39-24778

Professor Stephan Grabbe
Director of the Department of Dermatology
Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
D 55131 Mainz
phone +49 6131 17-4412

Petra Giegerich | idw
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht When fat cells change their colour
28.10.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Aquaculture: Clear Water Thanks to Cork
28.10.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>