Interdisciplinary platform for RNA-based therapeutics

The Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Immune-Mediated Diseases CIMD has been funding the development of novel RNA-based therapeutic concepts for two years now. The collaborating researchers used bioinformatics-based prediction of RNA targets in fibrosis to identify novel molecular effectors. In subsequent in-vitro and ex-vivo studies, they investigated their functional impact by means of what is known as siRNA molecules. Packaging of the siRNA-based agent in particular will be further explored in upcoming studies, also in cooperation with other Fraunhofer institutes. The researchers are making use of a variety of innovative technologies here, from lipid-based nanoparticles and liposomes to silica gel particles.


© Fraunhofer ITEM
Nanoparticles help deliver fluorescence-labeled siRNA (red) into human lung fi broblasts (nuclei stained blue).

The same basic principles have been used for research on other topics within the platform, such as further development of an siRNA-based therapeutic approach targeting the inflammatory lung disease sarcoidosis or studies on COVID-19 treatment strategies based on circular RNA molecules. Results from the still-young CIMD platform RNA Therapeutics were also presented at the Day of Immune Research 2022, where Fraunhofer researchers and representatives from academia, university clinics, and industry got together to share and discuss their insights. The focus was on exchanging ideas with scientists working on other novel drug classes. The future development of joint treatment options – for example, using cell therapy approaches – has also been envisaged. The CIMD platforms thus provide an excellent single-entry point at all stages in the development of novel therapeutic concepts.


Christian Bär

Contact Press / Media

Prof. Dr. Christian Bär

Manager of the Working Group on Regenerative Cardiology

Phone +49 511 5350-120

Sabine Kafert-Kasting

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Sabine Kafert-Kasting

Head of Project Management

Phone +49 511 5350-363