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Two-pronged attack: radioimmune therapy for brain tumours

Funding of EUR 3.5 million was secured in June 2016 by Prof. Reinhard Zeidler and his team at the Helmholtz Zentrum München. The support comes from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Helmholtz Validation Fund (HVF). It will enable the team of scientists and clinicians to advance their innovative approach to the treatment of glioblastoma, a frequent and highly aggressive form of brain tumour, and investigate its efficacy in the clinic. The researchers have developed a conjugate containing a beta emitter and Fab fragments of an antibody that binds with high specificity to an enzyme on the surface of tumour cells in the brain. When used after tumour resection, the conjugate directs highly active beta radiation to the immediate vicinity of dangerous metastases, thus killing them. The team’s next tasks are to start production according to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines and prepare a clinical trial. ‘The project of the Helmholtz Zentrum München offers huge potential for glioblastoma patients, who currently have very poor life expectancy,’ says Dr Stefanie Possekel, Director at Ascenion. ‘It could also become a model for translation via interdisciplinary teams in the academic environment.’