Funding of an Innovative Research Project in Münster

Since the beginning of this year, PhD student Gemma Gómez Giró is working on the “Preparation, Differentiation and

Examination of isogenic hiPS-cells with CLN3 mutation” as part of her PhD thesis. Under supervision of Prof. Dr. Hans Schöler from the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Biomedicine in Münster (MPI) and in collaboration with the University of Luxemburg, the expertise of both research groups is brought together. Their aim is to grow CLN3-deficient nerve cells in the lab using genetic identical (isogenic) human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPS-cells). HiPS-cells originate from human cell lines and are capable of forming any desired cell type upon addition of certain substances. The NCL nerve cells can then be analysed for all sorts of cellular processes, like rate of survival, stress resistance and synapse development. Being able to screen for changes in cellular processes, allows testing the efficacy of possible drugs.

The importance of this project is both of scientific and also ethic nature. HiPS-cells offer a good alternative to animal models, like mice, and could be used to establish a basis for scientists and pharmaceutical companies to perform high-throughput drug screenings to find an effective therapy for NCL. Furthermore, obtained results in experiments with human cells are more suitable to be applied to the patient than results from animal models. This gives NCL research more of its needed proximity to the patient.

 

We would like to thank the married couple den Hertog from the Batten Research Funds and all organisers and participants of our “Münsteraner Krimi-Cup” for their support in funding this research  project.

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