Among Krka Prize-winners also a young researcher of the Kolektor Nanotesla Institute

19.10.2012

The young researcher of the Kolektor Nanotesla Institute, Dr. Sara Prijič, received the award for her doctor's dissertation

The young researcher of the Kolektor Nanotesla Institute, Dr. Sara Prijič, received the award for her doctor's dissertation titled The Use of Superparamagnetnic Nanoparticles for Magnetofection of Reporter and Therapeutic Genes into Cells, Muscles and Experimental Tumors in Mice, which was mentored by the now late director of the Nanotesla Institure, Dr. Andrej Žnidaršič.

The abstract of said dissertation reads: "Cancer immuno-gene therapy is a treatment using nucleic acids encoding immunostimulatory proteins to stimulate an immune response against a tumor. Magnetofection is a transfection based on binding of nucleic acids onto magnetic nanoparticles with subsequent exposure to magnetic field. We synthesized superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs), coated and functionalized with a double layer of endosomolytic polymers, polyacrylic acid (PAA) and polyethylenimine (PEI). Onto SPIONs-PAA-PEI we bound plasmid DNA carrying reporter gene for green fluorescent protein (pDNAGFP) or therapeutic gene for cytokine interlekin-12 (pDNAIL-12). Biocompatible SPIONs are suitable vectors for gene delivery via magnetofection into cells and tumors, but not into skeletal muscels. Magnetofection of cells and tumors with pDNAGFP or pDNAIL-12 bound to SPIONs-PAA-PEI, was superior in transfection efficiency to commercially available SPIONs or lipofection, and comparable to electrically-mediated transfer. Antitumor effect was after magnetofection with pDNAIL-12, bound to SPIONs-PAA-PEI, comparable to that of electrically-mediated transfer. The results of our study show that magnetofection of tumors using SPIONs-PAA-PEI-pDNAIL-12 holds great potential for the further refinement aimed at cancer immunogene therapy since the safety and efficacy of correspondingly efficient electrically-mediated transfer is already being tested in clinical studies for gene therapy".

Dr. Branka Mušič, Director of the Nanotesla Institute said that for any young researcher, the Krka award is a confirmation of the diligent past efforts and surely a stimulus for further development-oriented work in connecting of the theory with the praxis, and also a confirmation for the very Institute, firstly for their appropriate guiding of a young researcher and secondly a proof that we can apply our ideas in praxis with positive effects on the economy. This is a highly expert paper based on top development and research know-how.

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