This year’s research prize of the German Duchenne Foundation goes to Dr. Alf Spitschak and Professor Heinrich Brinkmeier.
This award honors a research project of the Institute of Experimental Gene Therapy and Cancer Research in collaboration with the Institute of Pathophysiology of Greifswald University Medicine. The research team with the participating scientists José Dinis da Silva Faustino and Hans Rheinhardt is developing targeted adenoviral vectors for the muscle-specific gene therapy of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
DMD is a serious life-threatening genetic disease in which the muscles of the patients are gradually converted into connective tissue, subsequently leading to progressive muscle weakness.
A sophisticated reprogramming protocol established at the IEGT by PhD student Dinis Faustino sets the basis for a groundbreaking new therapeutic approach. The in-situ testing of the multifactorial adenovectors will be performed on DMD-induced mouse models by the cooperation partner in Greifswald.
If the project is completed successfully, in addition to the targeted regeneration of functional muscle cells in the organism, the restoration of functional dystrophin shall be accomplished, thus ensuring long-term muscle regeneration.