Development of an improved immunotherapy with few side effects based on tumor-targeted and activatable immune response triggering.


The aim of the project is to develop a new, highly effective class of immunotherapeutic agents against various types of cancer (“tunable and activatable Immune System Engagers”, ta-ISErs).

Syntab Therapeutics, leader of the joint project, is the property holding company of the immuno-oncologics called "Immune System Engagers" (ISErs). The effector peptides contained in ISErs activate the innate immune system and at the same exhibit high efficacy and good bioavailability, as already successfully tested in previous in vitro proof-of-concept and in vivo studies (Brehs, M., Pötgens, A.J.G., Steitz, J. et al. “Synthetic integrin-binding immune stimulators target cancer cells and prevent tumor formation”. Sci Rep, (2017) ). Based on these promising results, the European Union and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia granted the application for the TAKTIRA project, an additional three-year funding within the framework of the “LifeSciences.NRW” funding initiative.

In addition to Syntab Therapeutics, the TAKTIRA-research consortium comprises 4 industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia (Syntab Therapeutics GmbH, Gremse IT GmbH, Black Drop Biodrucker GmbH and TECO Development GmbH), the working group of Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Christian Becker from the University of Vienna as well as 3 academic partners from RWTH Aachen University Hospital (the Institute for Molecular Imaging, project leader Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. Twan Lammers; the Institute for Laboratory Animal Science, project management PD Dr. phil. nat. Julia Steitz and the Clinic for Gynecology and Obstetrics, project leader Dr. rer.nat.Jochen Maurer).

The joint project was funded with a total of € 2.85 million, with the project partners of the RWTH Aachen University Hospital receiving a total of € 1.17 million.

In close collaboration with Dr. Steitz, ExMI supports the consortium by providing advanced imaging tools to non-invasively and longitudinally monitor the biodistribution and targeting efficacy of ISErs in vivo and ex vivo. In addition, in partnership with Black Drop Biodrucker GmbH and with the team of Dr. Maurer, ExMI aims to assess 3D-in vitro biomimetic platforms to cultivate and study patient-derived breast cancer stem cells interactions with immune cells.