Published 04. 02. 2021
At the end of last year, the Czech Science Foundation (GAČR) completed an evaluation of project proposals accepted for public tender in research, experimental development and innovation to support basic research grant projects.
Among the sixteen selected projects is a joint research project of the Institute of Biotechnology (IBT) in the BIOCEV centre and the Institute of Experimental Medicine (IEM) of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS), focused on research into the horizontal transmission of mitochondria in the biology of cancer.
The total amount of the grant is 50 million crowns. Over the next 5 years, researchers will focus on research into the molecular mechanisms of intercellular mitochondrial movement, their repair mechanisms of non-functional or otherwise damaged mitochondrial DNA, and the importance of these processes in difficult-to-treat and resistant types of tumours.
The results of the research are expected to lead to the identification of new targets for cancer treatment.
The main researcher of the project is prof. Jiří Neužil, PhD (IBT CAS), co-researcher is Pavel Vodicka, MD, PhD (IEM CAS).
"I am delighted that we have managed to secure this prestigious grant. This is particularly important as it is one of two biomedically focused projects awarded by the acclaimed GAČR EXPRO grant scheme. Cooperation with IEM CAS, specifically with Dr Vodička is very significant for us; the team of our co-researcher will assist our understanding of the role of mitochondrial DNA repair mechanisms in the mechanism of horizontal mitochondrial transmission. I believe that we will be able to gain not only important knowledge for basic cell biology, especially in the context of cancer biology, but that this project will also lead to finding new intervention sites for the treatment of cancer," says prof. Jiří Neužil, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Therapy (IBT CAS - BIOCEV).
The figure shows the movement of mitochondria from mesenchymal stem cells decorated with red fluorophore via so the called tunneling nanotubes to acceptor cancer cells with damaged mitochondrial DNA decorated with green fluorophore.
Source: IBT CAS