MFPL: Prototype awards for RNA and Parkinson's research

In the recent call for prototype funding (PRIZE) of the Ministry of Science, Research and Economics two projects from MFPL researchers were successful. The funding allows the groups of Renée Schroeder and Robert Konrat to produce functional prototypes in order to help bringing novel therapeutics to market.

The prototype funding initiative PRIZE is part of the "knowledge transfer centers and IPR-recovery" program commissioned by the Ministry of Science, Research and Economics (BMWFW) and handled by the Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws). In total, an international jury selected ten projects at Austrian universities – two of them at MFPL and another at the University of Vienna. At MFPL, Robert Konrat was successful with his project "New bifunctional therapeutic approach for the treatment of Parkinson's disease" as well as Renée Schroeder with her concept "Design of novel vectors for increasing quality and quantity of proteins".

New therapeutics for Parkinson
Thus far there are no disease-modifying therapies for conditions such as Parkinson's disease or dementia. One reason is that the molecular mechanisms behind these diseases remain largely unknown. However, there is increasing evidence that the progressive accumulation of the protein α-synuclein (α-syn) plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. Robert Konrat and his team have identified a new molecule with analog function. It reduces the number of α-syn aggregates and has an additional, entirely new activity. This unexpected discovery makes a new strategy in the fight against Parkinson possible: In contrast to previous therapeutic approaches that treat only the symptoms of the disease, this one would allow a disease-modifying therapeutic approach.

Better quality and quantity of proteins
Recombinant proteins are indispensable for biotechnological and pharmaceutical research. However, often the quality and quantity of these proteins are not sufficient for industry use creating a high demand for optimized processes to produce recombinant proteins. The project of Renée Schroeder and her team aims to improve the quality and quantity of recombinant proteins through the construction of novel vectors. These vectors contain certain RNA sequences called RAP, which make it possible to increase the yield of protein production from a gene.

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