Prof. Dr. Dr. Sonja Loges, a renowned cancer researcher at the University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), has won an ERC Starting Grant of EUR 1.5 million over the next five years from the European Research Council, the UKE announced Monday (August 14, 2017). The funds will go towards research into eliminating tumour cells from bone marrow. “The ERC grant is funding basic research on a European level. Scientists at UKE have received this coveted award during the past 14 years. It underlines UKE’s visibly rising competitiveness,” said Prof. Dr. Dr. Uwe Koch-Gromus, Dean of the Medical Faculty and Chair of UKE.
Research project to fight tumour cells
The new research project uses immunotherapeutic approaches to fight tumour cells remaining in the bone marrow despite treatment. “Cancer cells nesting in bone marrow despite aggressive chemotherapy or radiation often survive and cause new tumours to grow. When malignant cells remain in the bone marrow, the mortality rate is twice as high among patients with originally curable cases of cancer,” said Loges.
It remains unclear why the human immune system does not recognise and remove malignant cells again. The team of researchers, led by Prof. Loges, will now analyse the interplay between bone marrow cells and immune cells to develop therapeutic strategic for fighting cancer cells remaining in the immune system.
Successful research into leukaemia
Loges and her team recently brought an inhibitor that combats advanced acute myeloid leukaemiahat (AML) to clinical maturation. Now, she is leading an international clinical study into its effectiveness.
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