Trapping cancer cells with self-assembling biomolecules

Mimicking the pathogen-killing mechanism of neutrophil granulocytes to fight cancer metastasis

Project leader: C. Rüegg

Team: A. Studart, C. Weder, A. Kilbinger, F. Scheffold, M. Mayer, E. Dufresne, E. Amstad

Cancer cell dissemination from the primary site and formation of secondary tumors, also called metastasis, is the main cause of cancer-related death. The elimination of disseminated individual cancer cells or small cancer cell clusters is therefore of significant clinical relevance for both diagnosis and therapy. However, this is a challenging endeavour as these cells are often in a non-proliferative state (dormant) and respond poorly to current therapies. This project seeks the development of a cytotoxic strategy to kill quiescent cancer cells by trapping them with self-assembling DNA molecules. The approach draws inspiration from the ability of neutrophil granulocytes to trap and kill pathogens with secreted nuclear DNA.

Main investigator

Involved people