Three research projects granted 15 MDKK

Tuesday 18 May 21
The Danish Independent Research Foundation is funding three new research projects at DTU Chemistry. The projects will lead to new, more effective drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases as well as green production of aviation fuel based on biomass.

191 new, promising and original research ideas have received funding from the Independent Research Fund Denmark. Three of the chosen projects are from researchers at DTU Chemistry, who receive a total amount of more than 15 MDKK for their groundbreaking research.

Professor Mads Hartvig Clausen and Associate Professor Charlotte Held Gotfredsen have been granted almost 6.2 MDKK for a research project that aims to address the challenges of developing specific and effective drugs for Alzheimer's and Parkinsonism. Associate Professor Katrine Qvortrup has also been supported with approx. 2.9 MDKK. for developing drugs against neurological diseases. The third project, which has received almost 6.2 MDKK, is led by Professor Anders Riisager. The purpose of the project is to develop a method that will make it possible to produce aviation fuel based on CO2 from biomass.

Read about the projects below.

The three funded projects

Selective Small-Molecule Probes for TNF Receptors, 6,190,998 DKK, FP2

Professor Mads Hartvig Clausen and Associate Professor Charlotte Held Gotfredsen (in cooperation with University of Copenhagen):

Anti-TNF biologics have transformed the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. However, there are limitations to this approach: a significant non-response rate, severe side effects, and drug properties that prevent treatment of CNS disorders.
The researchers will use fragment-based ligand discovery to identify small molecules that selectively modulate the two TNF receptors TNFR1 & TNFR2, which have opposing biological effects. Such small molecules should provide better and safer treatments and their size makes them prone to enter the brain and thus promising for reducing neuroinflammation. 


Sustainable aviation fuel from CO2 with combined fermentation and catalysis, 6,190,511 DKK, FP2

Professor Anders Riisager (in cooperation with DTU Biosustain):

Industrial stationary sources accounts for about two-third of the global CO2 emission. Direct trapping of CO2 from such gases reduces greenhouse gas emission, and can in addition be utilized for sustainable production of fuels and chemicals. The project aims at valorizing CO2 separated from industrial gases, such as biogas, by a new alternative ionic liquid-based filter technology. The technology has potential for a breakthrough in sustainable aviation fuel production; It will contribute to meet a forecast of 3% grow in global aviation fuel consumption, but reduce netto fossil fuel CO2 emissions which otherwise will increase by around 300% for aviation transport by 2050.


Selective Delivery of drugs to CNS for Treatment of Neurological Diseases, 2,879,571 DKK, FP1

Associate Professor Katrine Qvortrup: 

Neurological diseases affecting the brain are devastating but poorly treated diseases. The huge impact on global health and economics is emphasized by recent statistics from WHO predicting that neurodegenerative diseases will become the second-most prevalent cause of death within 20 years. The brain barriers (BBs) restrict the entry of molecules into the brain. This has a protective effect, but it also comprise a great hurdle for drugs to enter the brain. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new and efficient treatment strategies that address this problem. Despite intensive efforts aiming at developing strategies for drug delivery into the brain, a BB-permeable drug has yet not been developed. The reported strategies suffer from low brain-selectivity, which can lead to serious side effects. The proposed project will bring research a step closer to solving the need for efficient CNS treatment strategies: By joining synergistic and complementary competences, we will develop novel technologies for brain-selective antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) to facilitate delivery of a drug into the brain. The proposed delivery technique has tremendous perspectives as it can be applied for a wide variety of already existing drug substances (i.e. including drugs that failed in clinical trials due to inefficient delivery).

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