Leukemia Diagnostics

The department has major interest in developing antibody-based diagnostics and therapeutics for various types of leukemia. Therefore, we are building up several technology platforms to efficiently produce molecules for the specific detection and elimination of malignant tumor cells.

The MAVO-project MultiNaBel is an internally funded project from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. It aims for the early detection of recurring leukemic blasts for prevention of relapse, as well as for observation of therapeutic progress. The combination of antibody-fragments coupled to nanoparticles and microscopy allows the set-up of a demonstrator, which is capable of automatically measuring both, transmitting light and fluorescence. Hence, a rapid, precise and cost-effective diagnosis with high specificity and sensitivity will become feasible.

The group of Dr. Christoph Stein and Dr. Rolf Fendel is responsible for the generation of antibody-fragments, which specifically bind to acute myeloid leukemia-associated cell surface receptors. These fragments will later be fused to the SNAP-tag, thus generating a proprietary antibody format enabling directed covalent coupling of fluorophores or nanoparticles. Responsible for the development of functionalized nanoparticles is the Fraunhofer ISC in Würzburg. A third Fraunhofer institute, the Fraunhofer IIS in Erlangen, provides a microscopy-based hybrid scanning-system connected to an automated image data processing unit. In close cooperation with clinical partners from Aachen und Munich, primary patient material will be analyzed for the expression of particular surface receptors and validated in terms of morphology and fluorescent staining.