10 May 2019

Three researchers granted DKK 11,8 million by Independent Research Fund Denmark


Professor Camilla Foged, Professor Martin Malmsten, and Associate Professor Christian Janfelt have been awarded a total of DKK 11,8 million for various projects related to health sciences and pharmacy.

Camilla FogedProfessor Camilla Foged (Vaccine Design and Delivery group) has been granted DKK 6.19 million for her project "Microfluidics-assisted design of next-generation mRNA vaccines: Fighting challenging infectious diseases and cancers with combination vaccines".

Although vaccination is the most successful medical intervention against diseases, future vaccines are even more important because they can be used against diseases we cannot prevent or treat anymore (e.g., cancer or drug-resistant microorganisms). A new strategy is to vaccinate with mRNA encoding antigenic proteins from pathogens or tumor cells. However, this approach depends on delivery systems to transport mRNA into the cells. Improved understanding of molecular design requirements for mRNA vaccines is important for development of next-generation vaccines. We have identified constituents of such complex vaccines, i.e. nanoparticles that deliver RNA into cells and molecular components needed to induce strong immune responses that kill infected/cancer cells. We will combine these principles into multifunctional nanoparticle-based vaccines. We will use microfluidics to manufacture the vaccines to ensure process scalability, and test efficacy/safety in animal models of infection/cancer.

Martin MalmstenProfessor Martin Malmsten (LEO Foundation Center for Cutaneous Drug Delivery) has been awarded 2.59 million for the project “Designed mesoporpous nanoparticles for lipid membrane disruption and antimicrobial effects”

With increasing bacterial resistance against conventional antibiotics, nanoparticles are attracting interest as antimicrobials, offering advantages related to presently undeveloped bacterial resistance, as well as possibilities for triggerable antimicrobial effects. Several mechanisms have been proposed for the antimicrobial activity of nanomaterials, including direct membrane destabilization, generation of reactive oxygen species, and heating induced either by light or magnetic fields. Despite considerable work demonstrating antimicrobial effects against various pathogens, studies on the mechanisms underlying such effects remain scarce. In the present project, focus is therefore placed on investigating membrane interactions of mesoporous silica nanoparticles, used as platform and further modified to address effects of (i) particle topography, (ii) photocatalytic effects, and (iii) photothermal effects, as well as (iv) synergistic effects and improved selectivity through the combination of these materials and antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Through this, the project aims to provide a mechanistic foundation for further development of potent and selective nanoparticle/AMP therapeutics.

Christian JanfeltAssociate Professor Christian Janfelt (Toxicology and Drug Metabolism group) receives DKK 2.79 million for research into mass spectrometry in connection with laser treatment of skin cancer in the project ‘Development of new technologies for chemotherapeutic and mass spectrometry guided laser treatment of skin cancer’.

The aim of the project is the development of new treatments for non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). The use of mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) enables very detailed characterization of laser-mediated delivery of chemotherapeutical drugs to tumors with drug detection, localization and quantification fully integrated with histological classification of the tissue. This involves development of new quantitative MSI methods as well as a deeper characterization of the tumor tissue by MSI, identifying biomarker compounds for different types of healthy and tumor tissue. The knowledge obtained in these studies will be utilized in development of real-time tissue identification during laser surgery on skin cancer based on mass spectral data. The long-term goal is to provide new treatments of skin cancer, which are based on laser-enhanced topical chemotherapy and mass spectrometry-guided precision laser removal of the tumor.


Congratulations to all!