Go to JKU Homepage
Faculty of Medicine
What's that?

Institutes, schools, other departments, and programs create their own web content and menus.

To help you better navigate the site, see here where you are at the moment.

Fight Against Cancer: Researchers Set “Killer Cells” on Tumor Tissue

Scientists at the JKU have succeeded in activating so-called T-killer immune cells to target affected tumor tissue.

[Translate to Englisch:] Im Bild DC-Polymer-Wirkstoff sieht man die Lokalisierung des von der Arbeitsgruppe Schöfberger synthetisierten Wirkstoffs im Lysosom der dendritischen Zelle (DC). Als „Shuttle“ diente ein wasserlösliches abbaubares Polymer (Arbeitsgruppe Prof. Ian Teasdale, Institut für Polymer Chemie, JKU), das den Wirkstoff zur dendritischen Zelle bringt und in der DC freisetzt. Diese DCs konnten danach mit dem Wirkstoff aktiviert werden. Im Tumormausmodell konnten die aktivierten DCs danach auch die CD8+ Killer T-Zellen aktivieren. Im nächsten Schritt wird nun im Tumorgewebe eine Entzündung mit dem Polymer-Wirkstoff Konjugat erzeugt und resultierend erfolgt eine Tumor-Abstoßung.

In the fight against cancer, researchers around the world are working toward "mobilizing" their own immune systems. Assoc. Univ. Prof. Wolfgang Schöfberger (Institute of Organic Chemistry, JKU) remarked, "Cancer immunotherapy is one area of hope in the fight against cancer because surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy in advanced cases usually fails.” This therapy aims to bring the immune system under control by using special drugs.

Scientists at the JKU have introduced a polymer-active substance into the tumor. “We wanted to activate the tumor’s dendritic cells (DC).” The polymer brings the substance to the tissue’s dendritic cells which function like a target for the immune system.

A particular challenge is precise placement of the active substance in the tumor.  A working group under Univ. Prof. Ian Teasdale (Institute for Polymer Chemistry, JKU) has created a water-soluble biodegradable polymer that takes the drug directly to the cell like a taxi and releases it there.

Prof. Schöfberger added, “We have succeeded in activating the DC. These then trigger an immune reaction in killer T-cells. The next step would be to use the active substance to produce tissue inflammation.”

The research findings are part of an FFG project and have now been published in the renowned international journal “Chemistry - A European Journal”.