Experimental Research in the Division of Medical Biotechnology
Head: Dr. Zoltán Ivics
The Division of Medical Biotechnology was formed in 1992 to address the research and regulatory needs created by the rapid progress in the development of innovative biomedicines, now termed advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs, including human and xenogeneic somatic cell therapy, gene therapy and tissue engineered medicinal products). The division has implemented specific research programs in gene- and cell therapy as well as on lentivirus-induced disease and cancer. The main focus is on understanding the basic principles underlying the development and use of ATMPs.
Experimental research includes the following scientific topics:
- Development of novel transposon as well as viral vector systems for gene transfer in haematopoietic stem cells and other primary cell types,
- Genetic screens with transposable elements,
- Host/virus interactions of retrovirus infection and PERV-associated risks of xenotransplantation,
- Interactions of host cells with transposable elements,
- Safety assessment of induced pluripotent stem cells, including mobilization of endogenous transposable elements in human pluripotent stem cells, its consequences on genomic stability and counteracting mechanisms of intracellular defense,
- Signal transduction mechanisms relevant for the differentiation of human and induced pluripotent stem cells,
- pathogenesis, vaccination against and gene therapy of HIV and SIV infections,
- gene and virotherapy of cancer,
- recombinant virus vaccines.
Work on safety and regulatory issues is carried out as one of the official tasks of the Paul Ehrlich Institute, whereas experimental research on fundamental basic principles and model systems is mainly financed by grants or fellowships, and involves projects carried out by Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scientists.