The »Aptamers/Tolerogenic Protein Complexes« platform aims to create cross-institutional structures and networks for the research and further development of MHCII-glycopeptide complexes for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and of aptamers for use in the early detection of glycosylation defects in autoimmune diseases or their precursors.
Treatment options needed for durable disease control
For (auto)immune-mediated diseases such as RA, there is a great need for new treatment options. Available treatment options such as cytokine blockers rarely achieve remission or even cure of the disease. At the same time, these diseases are often diagnosed only after manifestation of sometimes irreversible damage. There is therefore a great need for new methods of early detection and treatment options to permanently control the disease-sustaining autoimmunity.
In extensive preliminary work, a recombinant complex consisting of the MHC II (DRA / DRB1 * 0401) molecule and a galactosylated collagen II peptide has already been developed as an antirheumatic active substance and its immunoregulatory potential has been demonstrated in a large number of preclinical data. At the same time, methods for glycan isolation and the synthesis of biotinylated glycan structures were established, which can be used for the selection of aptamers.
Optimization of the formulation and glycosylation of MHC-II complexes
The main objectives of the project are to optimize the formulation and glycosylation of the MHC-II glycopeptide complexes, to study them in a humanized mouse model of RA, and to identify aptamers for the development of a detection system for glycosylation changes.