RNA therapeutics

Development of innovative RNA therapeutics at Fraunhofer CIMD

The translation of innovative ideas and identified molecular targets into novel therapies for immune-mediated diseases is the primary goal of the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Immune-Mediated Diseases CIMD. Two interdisciplinary competence platforms have been established for this purpose: “Alternative methods to animal testing” under the leadership of Fraunhofer ITEM and “New drug classes” with the sub-platform “RNA therapeutics” that is equally led by Fraunhofer ITEM.

© Hannover Medical School and Fraunhofer ITEM, Malte Juchem
With the help of a novel nanoparticle transfer system, messenger RNA (mRNA) encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) can be delivered into human cardiomyocytes.

Innovative therapeutics based on ribonucleic acid (RNA) have become known to a broad public in the context of vaccine development. But RNA-based vaccines are only one use case. In many organ diseases, altered gene expression signatures are known to influence disease progression. This is where RNA therapy comes in: The targeted use of coding or non-coding RNA sequences enables a tailored response of the specific target cells under certain pathological conditions. Fraunhofer ITEM has access to a broad range of techniques and methods, partly by cooperating with other Fraunhofer institutes and academic partners, and these are used to explore and develop for example short siRNA molecules for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis and other chronic immune diseases. One focus is on model systems based on human cells and tissues, which are being further developed within the Fraunhofer CIMD sub-platform “RNA therapeutics”. Furthermore, special administration technologies, both at the molecular and equipment level, play a key role. The pooled expertise in bioinformatics-based target discovery and characterization, preclinical pharmacology and toxicology, targeted delivery and eventually clinical translation is already available for research collaborations and joint activities with industry partners.


Sabine Kafert-Kasting

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Sabine Kafert-Kasting

Project Management Life Science

Phone +49 511 5350-363