Major grant: Cell therapy may be the solution to chronic renal diseases
The number of patients with chronic autoimmune renal diseases is rising, and there is currently no effective treatment available. As part of a major European research collaboration, Associate Professor Rasmus O. Bak of Aarhus University aims to find the key to an effective treatment within cell therapy. The project is supported by the EU’s Horizon Europe programme and has received a total of DKK 59 million.
Today, around ten per cent of the world’s population suffers from chronic autoimmune diseases, but the treatment methods are few and often ineffective because it has not yet proven possible to find a form of treatment that can keep the immune system in balance over a long period of time.
With the support of a large grant from the Horizon Europe programme, researchers from eleven institutions will now explore an effective form of treatment through cell therapy. Among them is Associate Professor Rasmus O. Bak from the Department of Biomedicine, who conducts research in gene and cell therapy and is the only Danish researcher in the consortium. The research project will focus on the most common immunological kidney disease, IgA nephropathy, but the aim is to generalize the cell therapy approach to serve as a "blueprint" for treatment of other immune-related disorders.
Rasmus O. Bak will contribute to the project with his expertise in the CRISPR gene editing tool. CRISPR works like a pair of molecular DNA scissors and can be programmed to delete or replace precise segments of DNA within cells. In this way, genes can be edited to provide beneficial properties to cells for use in therapy.